For one night with A-Rod back in the lineup and CC wheelin’ and dealin’, everything seemed right in the Yankee Universe. Of course, A-Rod was booed by the Orioles, but the Bronx cheers weren’t any louder than usual. He’ll do with that around the leagues, and some places — Boston and Texas — will be less forgiven than others.
Of the field, though, reporters are still trying to stir up something of an Alex Rodriguez story. To wit: A Jayson Stark column on A-Rod’s historic milestones clauses. As Stark reminds us, Hank Steinbrenner, in seemingly his last act of any importance atop the Yankee chain of command, gave Alex Rodriguez a ten-year contract with some heavy marketing bonuses for reaching certain home run totals.
While Nate Silver doesn’t think A-Rod will reach all of those milestones, the Yankees are operating on the belief that they will have paid A-Rod around $300 million over the life of this contract. In light of A-Rod’s PED admissions earlier this year, Stark asks around baseball, and his anonymous sources suggest that the Yanks should try to get out of those clauses of the contract.
These are not questions the Yankees are asking — yet. But they’re questions we have heard asked around baseball lately, as A-Rod’s reputation, approval rating and marketability have plunged to somewhere south of Rio de Janeiro.
“If I’m the Yankees,” said an official of one team, “I think I’d be doing everything I could not to pay that money, and let him sue me for it.”
“I think the Yankees ought to challenge it and baseball ought to challenge it,” said an executive of another club. “And then it’s up to A-Rod and the union to determine how much they want to fight it. Does this guy really want to continue to go through this stuff? Does he really want to continue to explain himself?”
The rest of the column gets into your typical anonymous-source complaining about the Yanks’ alleged special treatment and how this contract just isn’t allowed within the rules of Major League Baseball. That part is more hot air than excerpted part above.
But anyway, I think Stark is full of it, and I think his unnamed baseball executives are full of it too. Imagine that you are a worker at a company, and your boss calls you into to say that, in fact, you won’t get paid those performance bonuses included in your contract. No one I know would be too thrilled about that, and you can bet that A-Rod and Scott Boras wouldn’t be either.
For better or worse, through sickness and through health, the Yankees and A-Rod are stuck with each other for this season and eight more afterward. The Yankees aren’t going to rock that boat by investigating a way out of these contract clauses, and Stark and his sources should know that just as well as the rest of us do.