— YES Network (@YESNetwork) August 7, 2016
It’s time to say goodbye to another all-time great Yankee. Earlier today the Alex Rodriguez and the Yankees announced he will play his final game next Friday, August 12th, then join the front office as a special advisor and instructor. He will be unconditionally released following Friday’s game.
“This is a tough day … this is also a proud day,” said A-Rod at the press conference. “I never thought I could play for 22 years. At 18 I just wanted to make the team … I want to thank the Steinbrenner family for giving me this opportunity, and for making me part of this team and for giving me an opportunity to stay involved by mentoring the next generation of Yankees … I especially want to thank the fans for letting me play the game that I love.”
During the press conference A-Rod said Hal Steinbrenner approached him a few days ago about joining the team in some sort of front office capacity. He didn’t come out and say it, but it sure sounded like an ultimatum may have been given. Either retire with grace and join the front office, or we’re going to release you. That sort of him. A-Rod was pretty diplomatic during the press conference.
“After spending several days discussing this plan with Alex, I am pleased that he will remain a part of our organization moving forward and transition into a role in which I know he can flourish,” said Hal Steinbrenner in a statement. “We have an exciting group of talented young players at every level of our system. Our job as an organization is to utilize every resource possible to allow them to reach their potential, and I expect Alex to directly contribute to their growth and success. Baseball runs through his blood. He’s a tireless worker and an astute student of the game. Alex has already proven to be a willing and effective mentor to many players who have come through our clubhouse, and I am confident that this next phase of his baseball life will bring out the best in Alex and the next generation of Yankees.”
Rodriguez has not played much the last few weeks — he’s started one of the team’s last 14 games — because he hasn’t hit much this year. He owns a .204/.252/.356 (58 wRC+) batting line with nine homers in 62 games, and the Yankees have used the DH spot for other players. The team has been playing with a 24-man roster the last few weeks and it’s been pretty awkward. Seeing A-Rod on the bench game after game was just weird. It really was.
Because the Yankees are releasing Rodriguez, the Yankees will pay him the remainder of his contract and yes, he will still count against the luxury tax. “He gets everything he deserves — the contract he negotiated — in full force,” said Brian Cashman. Cashman, by the way, dropped the mic when asked how Alex should be remember.
— Deadspin (@Deadspin) August 7, 2016
What a power move. Highlight of the press conference right there.
Considering this is essentially a forced retirement, the Yankees accepted the financial impact of releasing A-Rod. They simply decided he couldn’t help them on the field and were better off paying him to do something else while giving the roster spot to someone else.
A-Rod has long been praised for his work with young players and a mentorship/instructor role should suit him well. This is sort of a bittersweet day. I’m sad to see A-Rod go, but it’s clearly the best thing for the Yankees at this point in time. I hope he socks some dingers between now and Friday and goes out with a bang. This has been one hell of a ride.