Whether you like it or not, you can’t argue that Alex Rodriguez is definitely a symbol of the game of baseball, whether you believe that is negative due to PEDs or positive due to his illustrious career. Alex Rodriguez announced Wednesday afternoon that he will play out the rest of his 10-year $275 million contract with the New York Yankees and then retire, which would be after next season, following the footsteps of fellow longtime Yankees Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettite, and Mariano Rivera.
The 40-year-old slugger has played 20 years in the MLB thus far–11 with the Yankees and counting, 7 with the Mariners, and 3 with the Rangers. He’s a 14x All-Star, 3x AL MVP, 2x Gold Glover, 10x Silver Slugger, and a 4x Hank Aaron award winner. He was a part of that Yankees 2009 squad that won the Fall Classic, and he has proceeded to be included in the 500 HR club and the 3000 hit club, which he joined just this past season.
At 687 career bombs, A-Rod sits 27 home runs behind the Great Bambino, Babe Ruth, for third place on the all-time home run list. That figure is very manageable for Rodriguez to attain sometime this season. He’ll need a total of 68 more home runs to reach Hank Aaron, so he’ll need to average 34 bombs between his last two seasons to tie the Hammerin’ Hank. Not as easy as reaching Ruth, but Rodriguez definitely has a shot at finishing his career in second place on the all-time home run list behind fellow PED user Barry Bonds. Even further away is of course Bonds himself. Rodriguez would need to average 38 home runs to claim the all-time home run king.
After finishing his rookie deal with the Mariners, Rodriguez entered free agency for the first time after the 2000 season and signed what was at the time the biggest deal to a player in sports history: 10 years worth $252 million. Only a few years into the deal, Texas started looking into potential trading partners to move his massive contract elsewhere. Texas initially agreed to a deal with the Boston Red Sox, but the deal was vetoed by the MLB Players Association. Thus, the Rangers naturally turned to the Red Sox’s arch-rival, the New York Yankees. The Rangers agreed to send $67 million of A-Rod’s salary along with Rodriguez to the Yankees in exchange for Alfonso Soriano and Joaquin Arias. In the 2007 offseason when Rodriguez had opted out of the final three years of his 10-year contract, the Yankees gave him another 10-year deal to remain with them for the remainder of his career. This time the 10-year deal would give him $275 million over the lifespan.
I see it best not to look into Rodriguez’s PED-rich history since it is common knowledge to average baseball fans who mock A-Rod as “A-Roid”. But it’s better to appreciate what we’ve seen over the course of the last 20 seasons. We’ve witnessed a man who has made mistakes, yes, but someone who really excels at how to play the game of baseball, and that is the bottom line, after all. Rodriguez still has a few more milestones he’d like to achieve before hanging up his spikes, so it’s best to just go along for the ride. Before you know it, Alex Rodriguez will have retired from Major League Baseball.