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Legal Problems Ahead for Yankees' Alex Rodriguez?

At 35-years old, has Alex Rodriguez finally gotten it? Has the three time AL MVP finally matured? Is the latest member of the 600 home run club now all grown up? One could certainly make that case because as reported first by the USA Today, A-Rod has dumped super agent Scott Boras and retained Pittsburgh sports attorney Jay Reisinger and Washington lawyer Jim Sharp.

Public relations have always been somewhat of a problem for Alex, even before the steroid issue was brought to the attention of the public.

Kurt Badenhausen of Forbes sums up A-Rod's dilemma as good as anyone.

"A-Rod is damaged goods as far as marketers go these days thanks to his admission last year of steroid use. But even before that he had trouble securing endorsement deals. A-Rod was always supposed to be a marketer's dream with the talent, looks and poise to potentially sell anything to fans. Every stop along the way in Seattle, Texas and New York endorsement deals were supposed to start pouring in. A few small deals trickled in over the years with Pepsi (worth around $300,000), Colgate-Palmolive (Speed Stick) and Kraft. But they didn't match the stature of a player with three MVP awards and 600+ home runs. In 2008 he signed on with Hollywood talent agency, the William Morris Agency to help secure new deals, but still nothing came."

Many attribute his lack of marketing popularity due to the backlash of his big contracts and his lack of winning before last year's World Series title. Whatever the reason, there has certainly been a "marketing boycott" against A-Rod over the years.

Taking a look at his income from endorsement deals, A-Rod makes a very small percentage of his income from endorsements and his income is derived mainly from his Yankees contract. He's been perhaps the game's most talented player with an unbelievably impressive list of accomplishments and stats, yet the player people seem to love to hate earns only about $2 million per year from memorabilia and sponsors like Rawlings, Nike, Oasys Mobile and Topps. Compare that to his infield neighbor, Derek Jeter, who makes about $9 million annually from endorsements and you can see his perceived unpopularity despite his on field accomplishments.

So does Alex's break away from Boras show a shift in philosophy for the Yankees slugger? Is he trying to put the stigma of being a selfish, money hungry player behind him? Maybe. Perhaps he's truly seen the light. But there may be another aspect to this.

Reisinger and Sharp have an existing relationship with Rodriguez as they have been handling his legal and government affairs since February of 2009. Reisenger represented Rodriguez during his admission to using steroids and is also noted for being part of the legal team that represented Sammy Sosa and Andy Pettitte in their dealings with Congress on performance-enhancing drugs.

Does A-Rod smell legal trouble brewing? Is he anticipating having legal issues with the government or FBI? Did he lie to the authorities regarding his steroid use? Did he lie to the FBI when he spoke to them about his relationship with Canadian Dr. Tony Galea and his involvement with the blood spinning technique? Did the Roger Clements indictment scare the crap out of him? Time will only tell.

Since the steroid admission, A-Rod certainly has done a much better job of dealing with the media and his public perception. The man who used to stick his foot in his mouth on a daily basis rarely does so these days. This PR improvement may be a result of maturity or it may be a result of the influence and advice given to him by his new legal team of advisors as his maturity seems to have coincided with Messers Reisinger and Sharp started advising him.

I'm sure A-Rod has matured somewhat with age, but something doesn't smell right here. While I have absolutely no knowledge of any possible pending legal issues for Alex Rodriguez, this is exactly the action that a reasonable person would take if they were expecting them. Maybe A-Rod is just being reasonable. I'm just saying.- Mike Cardano

Mike is the founder of Around the Horn Baseball and Xtra Point Football.

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