That little incident where the third baseman reportedly tried to hit on a woman behind the Yankees' dugout during the game notwithstanding, Rodriguez has seemed to be largely scapegoated by the team for its collective offensive struggles, yet handled it with grace. Amid being pinch hit for and otherwise left on the bench, A-Rod has said all the right things, trying to deflect attention away from himself, not expressing any public displeasure with manager Joe Girardi and generally being a good teammate when facing the media.
Even when rumors surfaced that the Yankees were talking to the Marlins about a potential trade including the much-maligned star, Rodriguez has continued to stick to his talking points. Nonetheless, New York ridding itself of Rodriguez makes perfect sense. It's not so much the money issue, but rather that they're seemingly stuck with a player who's declining at a rapid rate for another five years. Presumably, the Yankees would jump at the chance to cast off Rodriguez, even if it means eating most of his salary.
Hold everything, because A-Rod, unequivocally, says he'll be back in 2013.
"My focus is to stay here. Let's make that very, very clear," said Rodriguez, according to ESPN. "I will be
back and I have a lot to prove and I will come back on a mission."
On Thursday, Rodriguez was again left on the bench in Game 4 of the ALCS in lieu of Eric Chavez, but did end up coming into the game as a pinch hitter in the sixth inning for Raul Ibanez. He went 0-for-2 in the Yankees' elimination loss.
While it's absolutely true that Rodriguez was only a small part of an offensive unit that went into a complete and unmitigated tailspin — it's impressive, really, how everyone in the regular lineup suddenly went cold all at once — he's also representative of the kinds of players the Yankees probably want to move on from. New York simply has too many overpaid, underperforming veterans to continue along its current path, so something has to give.
So A-Rod may desperately want to stay in New York, and may be unfairly fingered in this team's collapse, but he probably shouldn't speak too soon, or in such certain terms about his future this offseason.
Like another infinitely talented star with a past P.R. problem, Rodriguez, too, could find himself soon taking his talents to South Beach.
Uhm, is Miguel Cabrera trying to see into the future? Here's a guess: the Tigers win the ALCS.
"The Union told us that they had not yet 'run the numbers.' We did."
–NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly, bluntly accusing the NHLPA of lying.
Now that's thinking outside the box.
— robneyer (@robneyer) October 19, 2012
Somewhere, Joba Chamberlain is cringing.