It's still early in the post opt-out news cycle, but I'd like to take this opportunity to head off any Yankees backers -- or, more likely, Red Sox fans -- who will use the presumed departure of Rodriguez as the basis for predicting gloom and doom for New York:
Mariners' win totals in last three seasons with Rodriguez: 90, 76, 79.
Mariners win totals in the three seasons after he left: 116, 93, 93.
Rangers win totals in the three seasons they had Rodriguez: 73, 72, 71.
Rangers win totals in the four seasons after he left: 89, 79, 80.
Yankees win totals in the three seasons before getting A-Rod: 95, 103, 101
Yankees win totals in the four seasons since they've had him: 101, 95, 97, 94
Obviously there's a lot more that went into these win totals than the mere presence or absence of Rodriguez, but the idea that a team is simply going to crater without his production, or experience an otherworldly boost if he is added, is demonstrably false. If the money devoted to Rodriguez is spread around wisely -- and I think the Yankees are more likely to do that than the Rangers ever were -- there is no reason to think that the Yankees won't be able to stay where they are now or improve without him.
The bottom line is not whether the Yankees can afford whatever A-Rod will ultimately get. They can. But even Bill Gates buys a value meal once in a while, and there's no law that says even the Yankees should spend ridiculous amounts simply because they can, and simply because they have done it an awful lot recently. Even if they never embark on a wholesale rebuilding -- they don't need to -- the future of the Yankees is in their younger players, not their aging, expensive ones.
The Yankees will certainly feel the loss next year, but unless they totally woof their offseason, it will only sting a little bit, and long term, they may be much better off.