Alex Rodriguez has been the highest paid Yankee for years, but for a long time he wasn’t a leader in the clubhouse. He was typically too busy putting his foot in his mouth to gain the respect of some of the elder statesmen so instead he deferred to Jorge Posada and the rest of the core four.
Things started to change in 2009 when he was outed as a steroid cheat, but with the core four still intact he was still not one of the more vocal leaders. However, even that is starting to change. As Posada has retired and Mariano Rivera sounds like a man in the final year of his career, A-Rod has stepped up.
Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports has the story:
On the morning of the first game they’d play since Game 5, the night the New York Yankees all went home for the winter, Alex Rodriguez stood before (the Yankees) and, according to witnesses, gave the sort of speech that wouldn’t have been possible five years ago.
…For long enough, that wasn’t A-Rod, not in their eyes and not in his own heart.
But on Friday morning, hours before they’d open their spring schedule against the University of South Florida and start all over again, sources said Rodriguez commanded the room for more than 10 minutes like he never had before.
“It was great,” said one witness. “I’d never seen that out of him before. I didn’t know he had it in him.”
Brown goes on to talk about A-Rod working with 24-year-old prospect David Adams in the batting cages.
He has really made a transition and it goes beyond just keeping his foot out of his mouth. This doesn’t come off as just one of his acts either. This seems geniune and while he may not be win another MVP award, he is dedicated toward trying to stay healthy and has transformed his personality into one that is actually fun to root for.