Throughout the offseason, there was a big cloud hanging over the Yankees.
And that was the return of Alex Rodriguez from a one-year suspension for his role in the Biogenesis case. The suspension was handed out Aug. 5, 2013 and reduced from the historic 211 games to the still historic 162 games.
Now it is over and both sides are trying to move on.
That’s why shortly before Yankee fans in the New York area sat down to dinner Tuesday, they were greeted with this statement released by the team and Rodriguez’s meeting:
“Alex initiated the meeting and apologized to the organization for his actions over the past several years. There was an honest and frank discussion on all the issues. As far as the Yankees are concerned, the next step is to play baseball in spring training.”
According to the various reports, the meeting took 90 minutes in Hal Steinbrenner’s office. It was attended by Randy Levine and Brian Cashman among others and there were numerous issues to discuss.
Such as all the events during the suspensions proceedings when Rodriguez filed lawsuits against baseball, the player’s association, and the Yankees team doctor. Eventually all those suits were dropped and Rodriguez was granted his meeting with the Yankees.
The question now is can the Yankees and Rodriguez move on to actually playing baseball? For one thing, anything that might have been “patched up” at the meeting seems to have been done reluctantly.
This is the choice of lesser evil for the Yankees, although reports seem to indicate that the team did more listening with the impression that they basically went “Whatever” when the topic came to getting back to baseball.
The alternative was a second Rodriguez apology during spring training. Spring training already will be a media circus with Rodriguez, who gave what was perceived to be a full accounting of his steroid exploits in 2009.
By now that apology was a sham and who knows how genuine this is. Regardless of authenticity, the better alternative is quietly apologizing and creating a vibe of trying to get back to baseball.
Ah baseball, that’s something that Rodriguez hasn’t done really well for a while. Since winning his only World Series with the Yankees, Rodriguez has played what constitutes a full season in 2010 when he had 30 home runs and 125 RBI. Over the last three seasons, he has 41 home runs and 138 RBI in 265 games.
That means the combination of injuries have limited him to 54 percent of the Yankees’ games and 41 percent if the suspension is taken into account.
Right now he’s in the mentality of “wanting to crush and do damage”. That’s his words when he’s ready to bust out of slumps.
Now he’s ready to bust out of being out of the spotlight and play baseball. His track record indicates a ton of negativity and distractions.
We’d like to believe there’s not a chance he’d be dumb enough to cheat again. But we know he wants the home run record that Barry Bonds holds.
The Yankees don’t want to pay any of those marketing bonuses they included in his contract after the 2007 season. They have three seasons remaining on what has become a dubious contract and now both sides want to return to baseball.
The question is if that can actually happen consistently?
It’s hard to gauge but this is a man with two surgically repaired hips who turns 40 in July. Ideally he gets some hits as the designated hitter, occasionally plays third base and actually does some positive things in the clubhouse and publicly.
His track record until proven otherwise is the opposite. The good will of being a good teammate when being pinch hit for in the 2012 playoffs quickly turned into Biogenesis that winter and that is the mess both sides are trying to climb out of.
Of course all of this wouldn’t have been necessary if Rodriguez had been normal in how goes about his business. As we’ve all learned there’s nothing normal about “America’s most infamous third baseman turned designated hitter”.
For better or worse, he’s a Yankee until his contract runs out or until something else ends his career.