Published October 19, 2012
| Sports Network
Philadelphia, PA – Alex Rodriguez and New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman made one thing clear following the club's ousting from the American League Championship Series on Thursday.
Rodriguez isn't going anywhere.
Don't be fooled by the PR swing.
We've also been convinced by outside sources that "The Big Bang Theory" is a funny show, a shoe endorsed by LeBron James is worth $200 and Taylor Swift is a talented singer.
The Yankees will certainly listen to any team willing to take Rodriguez, a player we all watched this postseason transform from one of the game's most feared hitters into a pinch-hit specialist who can't handle right-handed pitching.
But is A-Rod really done?
The numbers were bad: just 3-for-25 this postseason with no extra-base hits. He went 0-for-18 with 12 strikeouts against righties and found himself out of the starting lineup three times and taken out of games for a pinch-hitter in a handful of other contests.
But Rodriguez is still a career .300 hitter and owner of 647 home runs. He hit .272 with 18 homers and 57 RBI in the regular season despite playing in just 122 games due to injury.
The 37-year-old also has pride.
Don't forget the 2006 postseason, when Rodriguez went just 1-for-14 in a four- game ALDS loss to the Detroit Tigers -- the same team that ended New York's season this year.
All Rodriguez did the following season was smash 54 homers with a career-high 156 RBI in 158 regular-season games before going a slightly-more respectable 4-for-15 in another first-round playoff exit.
"I have to look in the mirror -- I sat in this room in 2006 and some of you guys (the media) were here and there was a lot of doubters. I said I was going to go back to the drawing board and I did. I came back with a vengeance in '07," Rodriguez noted after Thursday's season-ending loss.
Both Cashman and Rodriguez made it a point to say that the third baseman will be back next year. When asked about his no-trade clause, Rodriguez said he hadn't even thought about waiving it and added how much he loves New York City.
Cashman also envisions him in Yankee pinstripes in 2013.
"I wouldn't be willing to get rid of anybody unless it made sense for us," said the general manager. "I fully expect Alex to be here next year. Alex clearly hasn't done well against righties for whatever reason this particular year, but that can change. His history is different than that."
That was all for the camera. Behind the scenes, the damage may have been done and both GM and star player know that moving a player still owed $114 million over five years will be no easy task. There was no need to turn the city even further against Rodriguez with talk of a divorce.
But there may be some teams willing to call Cashman about A-Rod.
The Miami Marlins make a lot of sense. Rodriguez grew up in Miami, played his high school ball there and may find the Latino market much more forgiving than the one in championship-expecting New York.
Reports have surfaced that trade talks happened before between the teams -- though possibly in just a joking manner -- and both Marlins president David Samson and Cashman have already denied further talks have taken place.
But Miami would probably be the best place for Rodriguez to get a fresh start and the club is in need of a third baseman after shipping Hanley Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers during the season.
Speaking of the Dodgers.
Los Angeles added a hefty amount of salary this season. In addition to Ramirez, the Dodgers also took on the contracts of Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett in an August trade with the Boston Red Sox designed to get the club into the playoffs.
The move failed and the new ownership of the Dodgers is hungry to win now.
Money may not even be an issue if the Yankees send Rodriguez to the West Coast for Crawford, who did not even play with the Dodgers because he was recovering from Tommy John surgery.
The 31-year-old Crawford fills an outfield need for the Yankees, is younger than Rodriguez and New York can afford to absorb his horrendous seven-year, $142 million deal that runs through 2017, the same length left on Rodriguez's deal.
(Crawford does have language in his contact that stated he can not be traded to the Yankees if he is dealt from the Boston Red Sox, which he was, but the Dodgers and Yanks surely have resources to find a way around that.)
Rodriguez is still a player who can make any team a contender and that is why the Philadelphia Phillies may want to give Cashman a ring.
The Phillies have a huge hole to fill at third base and the expected free agency group isn't one that will blow the club away.
Despite a down year that saw the end of their five-year run as NL East champions, the Phils have a three-headed rotation (Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels) that keeps them contenders and an aging core that may have one or two more good years left in it.
And with the meat of Philadelphia's lineup -- Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Domonic Brown -- left-handed, the club could certainly use a slugger from the right side.
Of course, it really could be that the Yankees are all-in on bringing A-Rod back for another season. There was some thought that perhaps the relationship between the former MVP and manager Joe Girardi was strained beyond repair, but Girardi doesn't see it that way.
"As far as I know, we're okay," Girardi said after the Game 4 loss. "(Benching Rodriguez was) not something I wanted to do all -- you know that. But I don't have any signals that he's mad at me. I know he wanted to be in there. I understand that."
For his part, Rodriguez blamed himself for the benching and not Girardi or Cashman.
"I know it's difficult for Joe. I know Joe didn't want to sit me. It's something that's not easy for him. But again, if I do what I do than Joe doesn't have a choice. Neither does Cashman or anybody else," he noted.
New York has plenty of work ahead of it this offseason, one that is sure to be known as the winter of A-Rod.