Take A-Rod reports with a grain of salt

alex-rodriguez

I’m not sure what’s going on at the Daily News lately, but it seems that they are on a witch hunt for Alex Rodriguez.

Yes, he is involved with another PED scandal and he’s a terrible person, but this goes beyond that. It seems that they are wildly speculating about directions in his career without much substance.

Example No. 1 an article they “report” that he won’t return:

Alex Rodriguez is unlikely to ever wear the pinstripes again, sources familiar with the Yankees’ situation with their troubled third baseman told the Daily News, no matter what happens regarding new allegations that he is again involved with performance-enhancing drugs.

According to numerous baseball sources, the hip surgery Rodriguez is now recovering from will likely derail his playing career, leaving him in such a diminished role that he may consider a settlement or an outright retirement. He still has five years and $114 million left on his contract.

“I don’t know why he would want to go through the pain of rehabbing and trying to play up to the caliber of player he was, and come back to a game where nobody wants him,” said a baseball official.

“If he did that, he’d be a part-time player and presumably unable to achieve any of the incentive clauses in the contract or even the milestones.”

A source familiar with the Yankees’ situation? Unless they magically figure out a way to void his $114 million deal there isn’t much of a reason to think the Yankees have some inside track on whether he will retire. Besides, a source familiar-with-their-situation could be anybody.

It could even be the “baseball official” they quote in the next statement which by the way is suggesting that he won’t be able to play because of his injury despite the fact that A-Rod’s doctor who performed the surgery said he expects a full recovery. Brian Cashman did leave open the possibility he might not return, but he said that as in it’s a possibly. One percent would be a possibility.

To me, that report sounds like pure speculation.

Example No. 2 an article they “report” that A-Rod is paranoid:

Sources say the embattled Yankee star is “scared” that bigger forces are at work to try to discredit him and sink his career. Holed up in Miami, Rodriguez has been huddling with an army of lawyers and PR people as the performance-enhancing drug scandal enveloping him intensifies.

“He’s scared, because he thinks this is so unbelievably false, and he’s wondering who could be behind this,” said a source, referring to last week’s Miami New Times report linking A-Rod to an alleged Miami-area performance-enhancing drug scandal. “He thinks something could be going on larger than anyone might think.”

The source added that Rodriguez is wondering if the Yankees or even Major League Baseball are behind the latest controversy.

This time we don’t even get the courtesy of a qualifier giving the source more, or any, credit. I should point out that I have nothing against unnamed sources. A lot of times it’s the only way to get a story when somebody doesn’t want to get fired or doesn’t want to violate MLB rules in the event of trade rumors.

However, sources need to be pretty solid, which these weren’t, for me to believe them over the doctor who performed the surgery. And when it comes to what a player is thinking, I doubt there is any source that matters more than that player himself.

Now don’t get me wrong, this is not a denouncement of the Daily News. I used to work there, I interned there in college, and I still have a lot of friends there. Heck, for all we really know right now their questionable sources are 100 percent correct no matter how dubious they appear to be. The writers involved all have long distinguished careers and even Teri Thompson, the paper’s sports editor, is involved so they probably are right.

Just call this a question of don’t believe everything you read. When it comes to A-Rod, the only things we know are that he’s had hip surgery and his doctor said he expects a full recovery. Since this is his second major surgery there is certainly a possibility that he does indeed never return, but even if it severely derails his career suggesting that he will retire is pure speculation.

We also know that he is involved in an investigation surrounding a Miami clinic that ties him to HGH and other performance enhancing drugs. MLB is investigating it, but the rules state that he would receive a 50-game suspension and that teams can’t levy additional punishment on players beyond that. Considering A-Rod will be injured for more than 50 games anyway, he has little more to worry about than a few million, chump change to him.

He’s underground and the Yankees aren’t telling where he is. He’s cutoff from the media. There certainly could be a friend of his who has told the paper about his paranoia, but more likely it’s just speculation.

Eventually he’ll show up to camp and speak with reporters and at some point MLB and the DEA will wrap up their investigations and we’ll know more about his connection to PED’s and what it means. Until then, let’s not pretend we know more than that.

This entry was posted in Editorial and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Take A-Rod reports with a grain of salt

  1. Matt_DC says:

    Rob, I'm with you on this. I find the Daily News obsession with Alex really strange, especially Bill Madden, who I really respect. If the worst of the story is true then so be it. Like you said, from Alex's perspective a 50 game suspension at the worst, with more cemented loathing from a public that doesn't like him anyway. I don't understand the value of all the conjecture. I doubt it sells newspapers.

  2. Roy says:

    going back to Dick Young, the Daily News has always had a writer who would send up an article as a straw man for the Steinbrenner family.

    Bill Madden has had that role in recent years. If ownership wanted to send a message to a player, manager, or even to a general manger, it might be done through such an article in the NYDN. There were a million articles like that about Joe Torre, as I recall.

    Usually, my suspect is Randy Levine. I do not know what purpose it serves to say that ARod's health is now so compromised that the rest of his career will be a waste. As you say, when he is cleared to work out in June and then play rehab games in July, it will play itself out.

    It does not sound like the opening salvo in a negotiation to end a contract. Either they terminate and pay the ballplayer and avoid their 2014/$189M problem or they buy him out and absorb his salary year after year.

  3. Roy says:

    Thanks for writing the piece. I am getting so tired of reading NY sports articles on players and PEDs. This is not why I follow sports.

  4. Mark Panuthos says:

    I don't know guys. That sleezy clinic in Miami had a scrap of paper with his name on it. That's all the evidence I need.

  5. Tanned Tom says:

    It seems that this is part of a concerted effort by the NYY to extricate themselves from their own stupidity. Probably there is no way to void the contract, but they'll use it as leverage to buyout this mess. The real leverage would be to pay him but NOT play him. Not allow him to pad his career numbers. Only 117 HRs behind Bonds, he can't afford to miss too much time. If NY decides he's a bench player he never gets that chance. Perhaps that would force him to waive his no-trade clause, or to accept a buyout of the remainder of the contract.
    One thing is certain, the team is done protecting this guy, and in fact the relationship has turned adversarial.

    • I don't think there is any proof at all that the relationship has turned adversarial. That's kind of the point of this article too. Trying to separate fact from perception. Really, the only thing that has happened is that Cashman said he'll let the MLB finish their investigation before commenting (makes sense), Jeter said he'll wait to comment until A-Rod himself also comments (also makes sense), and Rivera said that his teammates have his back. Nobody has fired any shots so let's not pretend they have.

  6. Mike says:

    Excellent point Tom. Not playing him would force his hand. No one wants to sit, especially Arod.