Just when you thought Alex Rodriguez couldn’t get more interesting, here’s a new PED story linking him and other athletes to an outfit in Miami. It was back in early 2009, ironically during his last hip surgery recovery, that A-Rod admitted to using steroids during a three-year period. The Yankees stood by Alex and supported him at his press conference where he supposedly came clean.
But, that was a different A-Rod. That guy had won a MVP in 2007 and he hit .302/.392/.573 in 2008. The Yankees needed that player to be productive and their faith was rewarded with a championship in 2009 that would not have been won without Alex. Now, things are very, very different.
Let’s start with the obvious, this isn’t the same player. Rodriguez just had surgery on his other hip. He has not hit .300 since 2008 and his OPS has declined every year since 2007. He has hit 34 homers over the last two seasons and has appeared in only 221 games during that period. Couple that with his contract which has 5 years and $114-million left on it before incentives (we will get to those) and I think it is fair to say that the Yankees won’t be as supportive this time around if these allegations prove to be true.
And this is the where the biggest change from 2009 comes in, the quest to get a payroll below $189-million in 2014. I’ve detailed how hard it will be to accomplish, but if the Yankees somehow could subtract the $27.5 AAV of Alex’s contract, it becomes a lot easier to achieve. Now, I don’t see any way that is possible, but I do think the Yankees will have an argument to make against Alex’s contract incentives.
Alex gets $6-million each time he hits a milestone home run which are defined as home run #660, 714, 755, 762 and 763. And those bonuses will count against the Yankees’ payroll when they are earned. So, with Alex out until July, currently hitting a home run about once every 6.5 games and sitting at 647 career homers, there is a very real chance that he won’t hit #660 until 2014. And that would cost the Yankees an extra $6-million in payroll which could completely obliterate their quest to get under $189 million.
So, I expect the Yankees to attack those incentive clauses. A-Rod has already admitted to using PED’s from 2001-2003 when he hit 156 homers. The Yankees could use that and these latest allegations to try and invalidate his 660th homer, arguing that his real total would be less without the use of PED’s. I imagine the Yankees are thinking over their options very carefully right now. And, at the very least, I imagine Hal has given Hank a huge wedgie, at least I hope he has.