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On December 18, 2003, the trade that would have sent AL MVP Alex Rodriguez to the Boston Red Sox for Manny Ramirez went dead. The Texas Rangers and Boston Red Sox passed the deadline set by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig to complete the blockbuster, ending negotiations and the prospect of Rodriguez in a Red Sox uniform.
A few months later, Rodriguez was traded to the New York Yankees for Alfonso Soriano. Red Sox Nation was speechless as the Yankees grew bigger and stronger. A few years later, the Yankees signed Rodriguez to a 10 year, $275 million deal which would end up being the largest contract ever given to a baseball player. With high expectations for Rodriguez to live up to at the time, the contract has been a complete disaster overall. Red Sox Nation can’t help but to point and laugh at the Yankees while Rodriguez continues to cause more trouble than the New York front office could have imagined.
In the end, Larry Lucchino, who complained bitterly about the MLB Player’s Union interference, and the Red Sox are fortunate that the proposed trade went dead, and for more than one reason:
1) A-Rod’s Immaturity
In the 2004 American League Championship Series, the Red Sox were doing the unthinkable: winning the series against the Yankees after being down 3-0. Winning two games straight, the Red Sox were back in Yankee Stadium. One of the plays that will never be forgotten is Rodriguez knocking the ball out of Red Sox pitcher Bronson Arroyo’s glove when running to first base, allowing Derek Jeter to score and Rodriguez to reach second base. Looking at the replay, Rodriguez clearly slapped the ball out of Arroyo’s glove. Jeter’s run didn’t count and when Rodriguez was called out, he put his arms up in shock and tried to argue his case. But his smile going back into the dugout showed he clearly knew what he had done.
Rodriguez was part of another controversial play a few years later against the Toronto Blue Jays. With two outs, a pop fly was hit high within the infield. While rounding the bases, Rodriguez became a distraction by yelling, causing the Blue Jays infielder to drop the ball. In this case though, the Yankees won the game because of that controversial play.
After Rodriguez pulled the stunt of slapping the ball out of Arroyo’s glove, his immaturity and lack of professionalism was on display for all to see. Every team’s goal is to win ball games. But if Rodriguez believes that slapping the ball out of gloves or yelling to distract fielders is a fair way to play the game, then he has a lot to learn. To be in the highest stage of baseball, you’d think Rodriguez would be a bit more mature and professional than to commit those childish acts.
One of the biggest factors that has really killed the contract of Alex Rodriguez with the Yankees is the injuries he has sustained. His injuries keep piling on and it’s hurting the Yankees.
With his time with the Yankees, A-Rod has dealt with the following injuries (in chronological order):
1) Strained right quadriceps (2008): Missed 19 games
2) Right hip surgery (2009): Missed 28 games
3) Strained left calf (2010): Missed 18 games
4) Torn meniscus (2011): Missed 37 games
5) Sprained left thumb (2011): Missed 14 games
6) Broken hand (2012): Missed 36 games
7) Left hip surgery (2013): Not due back until June/July
(Source: Long Island Newsdays Sports)
After signing another 10-year contract with the Yankees for an additional $252 million, Rodriguez still has five years and $114 million left on his contract, putting the Yankees in a pickle.
3) Steroid Allegations
Why not save the best for last! In 2009, Rodriguez admitted to taking steroids while he was with the Rangers. Rodriguez apologized for his actions at the time, but it doesn’t seem to end there!
Recently, the Miami New Times reported that Rodriguez was connected with Miami “anti-aging” clinic Biogenesis. According to ESPN, Rodriguez had been injected with performance enhancing drugs at his Miami mansion by clinic chief Anthony Bosch. Since the story broke out, the Yankees have apparently gone to great lengths in an attempt to void the rest of Rodriguez’s contract.
When any player takes steroids, I lose instant respect for that player, including the Red Sox’s own David Ortiz. But Rodriguez’s case is different. Having put up spectacular numbers with the Rangers before being traded to the Yankees, it was steroids that helped him hit like a Hall of Famer. It was steroids that landed him the most lucrative contract ever given to a baseball player.
The Red Sox were lucky enough to be able to trade Carl Crawford in the blockbuster deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers to assume the remainder of his seven year, $142 million contract. In the Yankees case, they still owe Rodriguez $114 million that no other team would be willing to pay.
Alex Rodriguez every game gets paid close to $200,000 dollars each game. Fans and athletes who have the dream to make it to the biggest stage in sports would all but die for that type of money. When Rodriguez admitted to using steroids in 2009, he apologized for his actions. But an apology isn’t enough. He has never acknowledged or stepped in the shoes of fans that looked up to him for what he had accomplished. Rodriguez has put the Yankees in a deep hole and has no guilt that the Yankees are in trouble because of his poor decisions. Considering how impatient Red Sox fans are – remember how Manny’s tenure ended, or Adrian Gonzalez‘s for that matter? – it’s not difficult to imagine how poorly this saga would have unfolded in Boston.
Larry Lucchino blamed the MLB Player’s Union for nixing the deal that would have sent Rodriguez to the Red Sox. A decade after the fact, Lucchino and the rest of Red Sox Nation should thank the Player’s Union for saving the Red Sox the trouble.