Alex Rodriguez has been terrible as of late, there is no denying that. He is an overpaid underperformer who has completely collapsed under the weight of everyone’s expectations. All that said, he is neither the first, nor last baseball player to not live up to his contract. It happens. The reason that he has been subjected to so much ridicule because of who he plays for.
Plain and simple: New York Yankees players are held to a higher standard.
Sources close to both organizations confirm the Yankees would pay all – or virtually all – of the $114,000,000 Rodriguez is owed in a contract that runs through the rest of this season and the next five. One alternative scenario has also been discussed in which the Yankees would pay less of Rodriguez’s salary, but would obtain the troubled Marlins’ reliever Heath Bell and pay what remains of the three-year, $27,000,000 deal Bell signed last winter.
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Olbermann knows his baseball, but he also isn’t the general public’s go-to stop for breaking news. Understandably, folks took his initial report with a grain of salt. However, a follow-up by ESPN indicated that Olbermann’s suspicions weren’t entirely baseless.
Via the Worldwide Leader:
What began as a casual, joking conversation between New York Yankees president Randy Levine and Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria about the possibility of Alex Rodriguez playing for the Marlins may develop into serious trade talks this offseason, according to a source with knowledge of the conversation.
According to the source, Levine and Loria discussed the possibility of A-Rod playing in Miami, his hometown, but characterized it as a joke between old friends.
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According to the source, Loria said in his conversation about A-Rod with Levine, "Alex is Mr. Miami, it would be great if he played here for us."
To which Levine is said to have replied, "You can have him."
A second source with knowledge of Rodriguez' thinking said the likely only place Rodriguez eventually would accept a trade to is Miami.
So what are we to make of all this? For now, nothing. On one hand, the deals noted by Olbermann are a little too crazy to be taken seriously. On the other hand, the specifics he listed indicate that the discussion between Levine and Loria was a little more than just some jokes. You don’t discuss salary specifics when you're joking with friends. You don’t think up alternatives when you're joking with friends.
More likely than not, a serious tentative discussion was had by these two regarding how to unload their respective burdens. It wasn’t super detailed. Nothing is imminent. They were probably just feeling each other out, seeing what the other is looking for. At least that’s our completely baseless assessment of this.
For what it’s worth, Yankees GM Brian Cashman called Olbermann’s report false.
"I have had no discussions whatsoever with the (Miami) Marlins," Cashman said (via ESPN). "Certainly would never have any trade discussions under the circumstances. I certainly have not had any discussions with any GMs other than the pregame meetings with Dan Duquette with the Orioles, with the umpires and then with Dave Dombrowski (of the Tigers). But I've had no trade discussions, so false. 100 percent false."
Make of this situation what you will.