I find it very difficult to have sympathy for the New York Yankees, or for Alex Rodriguez. They just won a World Series in 2009 and had four championships in five years from 1996-2000, not to mention the largest budget in Major League Baseball. When your team is about to enter year 65 of its World Series drought, you find it hard to have any kind of pity for the struggles of the Yankees during the 2012 playoffs. Regardless of all of this, I couldn’t help but feel a bit baffled by their treatment of A-Rod and the way he’s been painted as the villain this postseason. While I certainly don’t care for A-Rod (I have referred to him solely as “bitch tits” since I heard about the nickname’s use in this book) he’s hardly the only Yankee regular that has performed poorly at the plate against the Orioles, and now the Tigers. Robinson Cano has been pretty dreadful, and even set a postseason record for consecutive hitless at-bats. Curtis Granderson hasn’t been much better, and Nick Swisher has been pretty weak at the plate, and made a costly misplay of a ball in right during the ALCS. I don’t think Cano or Granderson have been pulled for pinch hitters, or were completely removed from the lineup for a game. Is it just because they’re considered more likable? Is it simply because they don’t have the profile, or salary, of A-Rod?
I made it clear last year that I like to come up with insane ideas from time to time. I like to try and bring any topic around to the Indians and literally just toss stuff out there. My name is not Chris Antonetti, and it’s not like any of these deals will ever come to pass. I still think these kinds of topics can provide an interesting discussion, regardless of their tongue-in-cheek/sarcastic/satiric nature.
So my first insane proposal for the 2012-2013 offseason – the Yankees eat most of A-Rod’s insane contract and ship him to Cleveland. What they get in return is negotiable, but let’s think about this honestly for a minute. They’re paying this guy $20 million+ to sit on the bench during some of the most important at-bats/games of the year. The closest he’s coming to scoring is when he hit on some women in the stands at Yankee Stadium during Game 1 of the ALCS. If you’re not going to use him, there is some poor, disadvantaged team out there that will gladly take him off your hands (considering you pay most of his completely ridiculous contract. Seriously, the guy is signed through 2017). It’s like when I wouldn’t eat my vegetables when I was a kid, and my parents made sure to tell me that some starving child somewhere would KILL for my vegetables. Well Yankees, some offense-starved, right-handed hitting-starved teams would be happy to have A-Rod. Think of it as a charitable donation, although I doubt you can write off overpaid, soon-to-be over-the-hill, superstars. I never thought the Yankees would eat much of A.J. Burnett’s salary when they shipped him to Pittsburgh, but the Pirates only ended up paying him about $5 million a year. Granted, his overall salary was much less than A-Rod’s and for a significantly shorter term. Still, if you’re not going to play him anyway, why keep him?
I can’t stress enough how extremely unlikely something like this would be. They may be able to find a team like the Los Angeles Dodgers, who took some of Boston’s bloated salaries this past summer, but the Indians will never take on that kind of financial burden. Nor should they – it’s insane to be paying a 41-year-old A-Rod $20 million (the amount he’s set to make in the final year of his deal) and I doubt the Yankees would ever eat enough to make this financially viable for the Indians. Don’t forget the fact that he has all kinds of performance bonuses for home run milestones worked into this contract – someone would still owe him for those (and the Yankees would almost assuredly hope he hits those milestones in pinstripes). Still, as I’m in cranky “nobody I wanted to see in the ALCS and NLCS is in the ALCS and NLCS” mode, I can’t help but think that I’d still kill for a right-handed bat that hit .272/.353/.430 with 18 home runs in an off year. I don’t even care about the fact that I can’t stand him. I’m so desperate for a right-handed bat at this point, that I’d probably consider a serial killer. The serial killer could walk into Progressive Field with an ax dripping blood and I’d still probably ask, “so what’s your OPS?” I don’t have to like you, you just have to do better than Shelley Duncan and Aaron Cunningham…the bar is set pretty low. Besides, no matter how much people in Cleveland may hate A-Rod, it’s still probably less than the hatred most Yankees fans feel toward him right now.