It might be great fun to spin the wheel of possible trade destinations for Alex Rodriguez, but the embattled New York Yankees star says our party is already over.
Speaking to reporters after the Yankees were swept out of the postseason on Thursday night, A-Rod says he will not waive the no-trade clause in his contract this offseason and wants to remain in pinstripes for the foreseeable future. The 37-year-old still has five years and $114 million left on the 10-year, $275 million deal he signed after opting out in 2007.
"I will be back. I have a lot to prove," Rodriguez told reporters (via MLB.com's Bryan Hoch) after New York's 8-1 loss to the Detroit Tigers. "I've never thought about going to another team. My focus is on staying here. Let's make that very, very clear."
Right now, the only thing that's clear is that A-Rod appears to either be a glutton for punishment or own an insatiable need for attention. Or maybe both. He was booed constantly at Yankee Stadium during a postseason that saw him go 3 for 25 at the plate while losing three starts to Eric Chavez, who didn't bother to collect single hit. On top of it all, the New York tabs stuck him in the middle of a ridiculous and, frankly, unfair flirting controversy involving an Australian swimsuit model who was sitting near the Yankees dugout.
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If there ever were a time for A-Rod to hit an escape hatch and watch his skills diminish in a less critical atmosphere, this hot stove season would seem to be it. Speculation over possible landing spots, including Miami and Chicago's South Side, started (and denied!) even before the Yankees were eliminated in Game 4 and perhaps the raw emotions after such a collapse would have put the Steinbrenner Bros. in a money-eating mood this winter.
Perhaps A-Rod will change his mind in the weeks and months ahead or perhaps he won't. At the very least you have to give him credit for maintaining a level head through the extreme soap opera of the past week and not giving into the emotion of the moment.
But if he really wants to stay in New York, the place he professes to love so much, he'll have to find out what's wrong with that swing.
Otherwise, it's going to be a long five seasons for everyone involved.