No matter how you phrase it, the arbitrator handed down his decision yesterday and A-Rod is done for 2014. There’s a lot of speculation about what will happen in subsequent years – does he stage a comeback in 2015 at age 39, do the Yankees cut him loose and eat the remainder of his contract, does another team take a chance on him, etc. – but for the immediate future the Yankees are without their third baseman.
I wasn’t surprised the suspension was upheld, though cut down to 162 games. And I wasn’t surprised that A-Rod and his legal team intend to fight it or even that he’s pledged to show up at spring training next month no matter what anybody says. But here’s the thing about that. If he respects his teammates as much as he claims, if he respects his manager as much as he claims, if he respects the game as much as he claims, why show up in Tampa and create a circus? Why make Girardi answer daily questions about him when there’s a season to kick off? What’s he going to do on the bench: be a mentor, a cheerleader, a signer of autographs? Someone on Twitter suggested he should buy season tickets at Yankee Stadium and sit right behind the dugout if he wants in so badly. But at this point, the best thing he could do for his teammates and for the sport is to focus on fighting the fight, if that’s his choice, and staying in shape.
And speaking of those teammates, they really do need a good third baseman. I don’t have faith in Nunez over the course of the season and the other guys Cashman has picked up are utility players and don’t have much in the offensive department. But at least there’s some closure and the Yanks know for sure that there’s a need.
Mostly, I feel sad about all this. Alex Rodriguez started his baseball life as a young man with everything to gain. So much talent. So much promise. So much desire. Squandered.
And then there’s MLB. They don’t exactly come out looking clean either.
Yesterday wasn’t a good day for either side, if you ask me.
P.S. Programming note. “60 Minutes” will have a segment with Scott Pelley interviewing the infamous Bosch, who will, apparently, provide “evidence.” I’ll be switching back and forth between this and the much more fun Golden Globes.