“You know those junkyards along the highways in Jersey? Well, they have scrap heaps just like that for athletes..Athletes are cattle. They’re raised, fed, sold and killed…. Baseball moved me toward the front of the bus, and it let me ride there as long as I could run. And then it told me to get off at the back door.” –Larry Doby, Sports Illustrated
Earlier this year the Yankees were shopping for a DH. The rumored candidates included Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui and Vladimir Guerrero. Raul Ibanez got the job and the Yanks made the right pick. Damon and Matsui eventually signed minor league contracts and were cut well before the season ended. Guerrero, a possible Hall of Famer, didn’t even get a sniff from a big league team.
Now, none of these players faced the hardships confronted by earlier generations of ballplayers like Doby–they’ve all been paid millions of dollars for their efforts. But the truth remains, once you old and can no longer produce, you’re a piece of meat. Yesterday’s meat.
And so we come to Alex Rodriguez who has been publicly shamed by the Yankees over the past week. They’ve pinch hit for him and they’ve benched him. There was a New York Post story about him flirting with women during a game and yesterday rumors had it that the Yanks may try to dump him on the Miami Marlins this winter.
I think he’s done in New York. And I believe the Yankees are toying with him now in order to get him to agree to a trade this winter. One that will be costly for them but rid them of his presence. He is being punished for their mistake. When management signed him in 2007 it was before his PED case broke but they had to know he was using. Don’t get that twisted, they knew. And they made a terrific mistake signing that deal. Now they are punishing him for their mistake.
And since this is Alex Rodriguez they may figure it won’t reflect poorly on them. Maybe they believe other free agents still won’t think twice about coming to New York even if this is how they treat one of their big ticket players (and yeah, I don’t think it’s a leap to imagine someone in the front office planting that story in the Post). But right now, the way the Yankees have handled Rodriguez in this series smacks of a panic that’s been unlike them for the past few years. This isn’t about winning games. You can rationalize it all you want and yes, if Rodriguez was playing well this wouldn’t be an issue, but this is about running him out of town.
He’s a goner.