This is not surprising but it’s still a bummer. Alex Rodriguez told Andrew Marchand today he is planning to retire following the 2017 season, once his current contract expires. “I won’t play after next year. I’ve really enjoyed my time. For me, it is time for me to go home and be dad,” he said. Is he the first player to announce his retirement two years in advance? Probably. That’s so A-Rod.
I have long assumed A-Rod’s playing career would end following the 2017 season one way or the other. Either he was going to retire and walk away, or teams would straight up collude him out of the game Barry Bonds style. He’s still persona non grata around the league, though the Yankees seem to be softening up a bit. Not that they have much of a choice.
Rodriguez has first ballot Hall of Fame credentials, though there is almost no chance he’ll be inducted into Cooperstown. He admitted to taking performance-enhancing drugs with the Rangers from 2001-03 and he was suspended the entire 2014 season due to his ties to Biogenesis. Bonds and Roger Clemens were never suspended and they haven’t come close receiving enough votes for the Hall of Fame. Hard to think Alex will get in.
A-Rod will turn 41 this July and he is one of the best players in history by any objective measure. He’s third all-time in RBI (2,055), fourth in home runs (687), 12th in bWAR (118.9), and 21st in hits (3,070). Rodriguez is only 27 dingers behind Babe Ruth for third on the all-time list, so he could pass the Great Bambino in the second half of this season. Hitting the 76 homers needed to pass Bonds for the all-time lead is unlikely but not completely impossible, I suppose.
During his eleven years with the Yankees — A-Rod has played more games with the Yankees (1,444) than he did with the Mariners and Rangers combined (1,275) — Alex has won two MVPs (2005 and 2007) and helped the team to the 2009 World Series title. He was a major factor in that 2009 postseason run too.
A two-year farewell tour would be the most obnoxiously awesome thing ever, but that’s not going to happen. I’m not even sure A-Rod will get a one-year farewell tour. Either way, Rodriguez is one of the best players in history and he still has plenty of fans even though most seem to hate him. I’m going to miss Alex. Baseball will be way less interesting without him.