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A-Rod as a Phillie? Nah I'll pass


The writing is on the wall: The New York Yankees are fed up with Alex Rodriguez.
Since his stellar 2009 postseason, which saw him deliver the biggest hit of his career against the Phillies in Game 4 of the World Series, Rodriguez has hit over .200 just once in October (hitting .273 in the 2010 ALDS). His demeanor during the 2012 ALCS combined with his disastrous playoff performance and subsequent benching has the New York rumor mill in full effect.
While Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman insists the team isn’t trading A-Rod, he wouldn’t be opposed to taking calls regarding his availability. So in other words, he’ll consider moving him if the right deal comes along.

Now here’s where things get dicey for the Yankees:Photo: articles.nydailynews.com

-Rodriguez is owed $114 million over the next five years. The Yankees would most certainly have to pay most (if not all) of that salary to a team willing to take him. Couldn’t happen to a more despicable team. Even if the Yankees find a team willing to acquire A-Rod, he has the final say based on his no-trade clause.

No matter how you slice it, this is going to be a tough sell for Cashman and the pinstripes. Personally, I have never been one to profess my love for A-Rod. While I’ve never met him, there just doesn’t seem to be anything genuine about him whatsoever.  And judging the opinions of almost everyone in baseball (including Yankees fans), I am not alone in that sentiment.

So after some recent scuttlebutt from the Phillies’ fan base regarding the likelihood of the team participating in possible A-Rod sweepstakes, the following questions came to mind, and the answers calmed any possible fears I had of the Phillies actually acquiring him.

Who would the Phillies even give up for Rodriguez? Even if the Yankees took on all of A-Rod’s salary, are you going to give away a pitching prospect like Trevor May or third base prospect Cody Asche for Rodriguez at this point in his career? I would really hope not.

They don’t call him A-Roid for nothing- The Phillies haven’t been ones to take in any big-name players implicated in baseball’s “Steroid Era,” and I can’t say I blame them. As fans, we can’t boo players like Manny Ramirez, who violated baseball’s drug policy twice, and then suddenly cheer for a player like A-Rod. It’s a little more complicated than booing somebody like Pete Rose (before he came to the Phillies) simply because he got under your skin and played for the other team. Remember, this is the same player who admittedly had some of the best years of his career while using steroids with the Rangers. Whether he’s taken them before or since is irrelevant. Altogether, it’s probably not something the Phillies want to deal with.

A-Rod is too high-maintenance for a team like the Phillies or a town like Philadelphia- Rodriguez was called “A Fraud” by Yankees clubhouse attendants and was known for his round the clock demands. In his book, Joe Torre commented on how Rodriguez made people get him his coffee and how he once randomly yelled out “peanut butter and jelly” to a clubhouse assistant in Detroit (not even in New York!) for them to make him a sandwich.  In addition to his diva-like behavior, A-Rod is known just as much for the drama he brings to a team than his play on the field. From his departure in Seattle to aggravating opposing players (and I’m not necessarily referring to his glove or bat), there’s way too many instances to list here.

Let’s just go with the 2012 postseason and end it there. Can you imagine anybody on the Phillies, with a roster of such blue-collar players like Chase Utley, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Carlos Ruiz kicking game to a group of ladies like Rodriguez did  at Citizens Bank Park during a close playoff game? Exactly. The fact that Derek Jeter broke his ankle later in the game didn’t help matters, but you really have to wonder where his head was, as his overall less than spectacular playoff performance got him benched by Joe Girardi three times during the postseason. Now granted, Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher all fell asleep too, but for a guy like A-Rod making $29 million dollars, he’s expected to at least show up. And you thought Ryan Howard came up short the last two postseasons..........

How could the Phillies afford ANY part of his salary? Even if the Yankees paid most of the remaining $114 million they owe him, the Phillies have $109 million committed to 10 players in 2013 and will most likely have to resort to free agent bargain signings to fulfill the rest of their team needs. Despite his apparent decline, A-Rod is clearly not one of those players.

The Phillies don’t need any more aging players, and he’s not even a superstar anymore- Yes, I understand the Phillies need a third baseman. Yes, I understand the chances of landing David Wright are slim to non-existent. Yes, I realize this team “might” have one more run left in them for another World Series title, but you eventually have to start getting younger sometime, and that time is now.  Halladay (36 in May), Lee (34), Jimmy Rollins (34 on Opening Day), Utley (34 on Opening Day), Ruiz (34 on Opening Day), and Ryan Howard (33 on Opening Day) are no longer fuzzy cheeked youngsters. A-Rod is reportedly a tireless worker, but 647 career home runs or not (and those numbers are tainted anyway), adding a 37-year old injury prone player with declining skills, a spotty postseason track record, a surgically repaired hip along with hand issues and a massive salary to this Phillies roster is a disaster waiting to happen. There’s got to be an answer somewhere, I’m just not sure anyone (including Ruben Amaro) knows what it is just yet.

So there you have it. Is Rodriguez a better option than all of the players that have manned the hot corner for the Phillies since Mike Schmidt retired? Statistically, yes. In saying that, this is one of those rare occasions where the end really doesn’t justify the means. Although chances are he will be staying in New York when all is said and done, the Phightins should nonetheless sit this one out.


Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com

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Photo: articles.nydailynews.com