Without eating most of the $114 million the Yankees owe to Alex Rodriguez over the next five years, it’ll be next to impossible to trade him. The Yankees GM Brian Cashman knows this and is realistic about expectations, but he is letting everyone know that he’s more than willing to listen to offers.
“It’s not like I’m going to hang phones up on anybody who wants to make any overtures about anything,” Cashman told Ian O’Connor on his ESPNNewYork radio show. “You’re talking about realistic stuff and unrealistic stuff. I don’t think it’s realistic at all for us to be moving forward with anything but Alex Rodriguez at third base.
“He’s still an above-average third baseman. … That means despite the contract that we had committed to him, that he’s an asset at this stage still. I don’t see us doing anything there. I don’t anticipate it. If someone wants to make phone calls, we’re more than willing to do all that stuff with any of our players, and that’s fine. You can run into something that way.
“But listen, the sooner we put to bed any expectation or anticipation that the Yankees are going to be solely focused on trying to move Alex Rodriguez. … I think that would be false. And it would be just a lot of wasted energy on anybody’s part to be thinking.”
Cashman is trying to temper expectations for the many fans that want to see A-Rod traded this offseason. You can be sure that Cashman would love to trade A-Rod and get out from underneath the rest of the five years of his contract, but it’s not going to be easy.
First of all, A-Rod is still a solid third baseman. No superstar, but he finished with a 112 OPS+ and had a better wOBA, .342, than all but seven other third basemen in the game. So Cashman is not going to just give him away for nothing.
The Yankees would also need a replacement for him. Minor leaguer David Adams has been playing the hot corner in the AFL and could potentially take over the position, but the Yankees don’t just thrust rookies into major roles like that so it’s hard to see them doing something like that. Eric Chavez isn’t a terrible option either, but he isn’t a great one considering his injury history.
Then there is the fact that we don’t know if A-rod would waive his no trade clause or not. Rumors are that he will, but he has gone on record saying that he has unfinished business in the Bronx. It would be foolish for Cashman to spend significant time trying to deal him only to have him nix the deal and all of that time would be wasted.
There could be options though. The Dodgers are said to be willing to take on major contracts. The Marlins president also told Yankees president Randy Levine that he’d like to see “Mr. Miami” with the fish. More recently, Arizona has popped up as a possibility when manager Kirk Gibson said that there will certainly be interest in A-Rod.
The bottom line is that it is certainly possible that A-Rod could be traded, but it won’t be easy and it doesn’t sound like Cashman is going to spend a lot of effort chasing down each lead. If something comes up, be sure that he’ll pursue it, but don’t get your hopes up.
The wild card here is A-Rod’s relationship with the Yankees. It can’t be good after he was benched in three of the Yankees final five games in the playoffs. The Yankees clearly sent a message that they view him as a platoon player. The Yankees need to be open with their plans for him in the future. If they look forward to benching him against tough righties that could create a toxic situation. A-Rod isn’t good at speaking with the press and if he’s being disingenuous about getting less playing time it’ll show.
And that’s exactly what seems to be brewing here. After the playoffs ended, A-Rod didn’t say anything along the lines of, well I’m getting older. No, instead he said that he’s going to come back next year and have a huge year. That may not be realistic at this point as he’ll be 38-years-old next year. If there is trouble brewing, Cashman may want to do more than just listen to offers.