9 Oct 2014
The Yankees have had various characters as the face of their franchise through the years. Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle weren’t saints. Lou Gehrig might have been. Reggie Jackson was a narcissist. Derek Jeter and Joe DiMaggio were intensely private. And while the “job” is open again, it is about to be filled by Alex Rodriguez. Short of the Yankees bringing Mike Trout to the Bronx before the start of next season, and that is absolutely not happening, Alex will become the face of the Yankees. He will be the person most associated with the team and that is one of the reasons the Yankees should cut him outright instead of letting him be reinstated at the conclusion of the World Series.
Let’s start with the obvious reason. Alex is a disgrace. He has been exposed as a massive cheat and refused to take the stand at his own arbitration hearing claiming the process was rigged and his lawsuits would prove it. Yet, he quietly dropped those lawsuits on a Friday in February and disappeared for the 2014 season. Opposing teams’ fans will obviously boo him, but Yankees fans should too. Management know that and the only reason the Yankees are even thinking of letting him in the front door is because they owe him $61-million.
Tradition matters to the Yankees. Perhaps it matters to them more than any team in baseball. They constantly market it. They are the only team that still has an Old Timers’ Day. They practically shove it down your throat at times. It has been a big part of the reason why the Yankees are the most valuable brand in sports. Fobres estimates that the Yankee brand is worth $521 million alone. That is a valuable asset and one that the Yankees should protect. Letting Alex return to the team will only reduce the value of the club. Maybe it won’t be $61-million of damage, but it will be damage and the Yankees could take a stand here and show that they value their principals more than their wallets.
But here’s the thing. Even if they won’t. Even if they desperately want to earn something off of that $61-million can they? Alex is about to be 40 and hasn’t played since 2013. He has missed at least 20 games every season since 2008, and was just slightly above average with the bat in 2013. Is a 2015 season where he hits .260 with say 15-20 homers really worth all the distractions his presence will create or the logjam at DH?
So, I hope the Yankees wake up to the reality that it is time to close the door on Alex. Sadly, I don’t think they will.