The Yankees and Alex Rodriguez have agreed to a 10 year, $275 million contract. A dramatic whirlwind of events will keep the game’s most talented player in the Bronx for another decade. This is obviously good news for the team. It is also bad news for fans as the handling of this situation displays troubling signs of inept leadership.
The Yankees had a hole to fill at third base. They found the best guy on the market to do so. A-Rod gives the lineup desperately needed balance as a righty power hitter. He also plays Gold Glove caliber defense at the hot corner. The team now does not have to worry about him going to Boston and playing with the Green Monster. The Yanks also now will not have to give up any promising youngsters to find a third baseman or figure out how to replace his immense production. A-Rod will now have a chance to enter the pantheon of great Yankees. He likely will end up in Monument Park, and number 13 will be retired. Alex will also have a chance to return the career homerun record to the Bronx. The Yankees can boast the greatest left side of an infield ever with A-Rod and The Great Jeter. He does bring a ton of distractions with him, but there is no question that this is a better team. Alex has started to embrace New York and thrive under the pressure. One of these years he will have a big postseason. He is too talented to not. Everything his critics say about his performance in the clutch was once said about Peyton Manning. Alex only needs one big October to silence those critics and become a legendary Yankee.
While A-Rod’s return is good, the leadership of this team looks like a bunch of buffoons. It starts at the top. Hank Steinbrenner’s blustering about how the team would never take Alex back after he opted out makes him look like a bag of hot air. This team claimed it would not negotiate if A-Rod opted out. Alex and Scott Boras opted out, reasoning the Yankees would eventually reenter the bidding. Player and agent ended up being right. They got a record contract as a result. The Yankees can claim that they won by excluding Boras from negotiations, but making the superagent fall on his sword is meaningless. Anybody who thinks A-Rod was not in constant communication with his representative would probably buy the Brooklyn Bridge if offered by somebody on the street. A-Rod came crawling back to the Yanks after there were no big offers on the market. The Yankees had all the leverage. They ended up bidding against themselves to give him a better contract than A-Rod got from Texas back in 2001 when he was 25 years old. It was more prohibitive than the extension they were going to offer him early The Yankees might spin that the early years of this deal are below market value to make up for the subsidy lost from Texas, but all the money on the backside of the contract more than makes up for that. This is incompetency at its worst.
The lesson here is that it is good to have money. The Yankees got absolutely played and still came out all right because they locked up the most talented player in baseball. The scary thing is that the same people are still running the team. If can they mess up like this in a perceived victory, it will be frightening to see them fail.