While cameras will follow his every move and while pearl-clutching columns will no doubt be written, when Alex Rodriguez reports to spring training next February he will be just like any other player in the eyes of Major League Baseball. That’s what Bud Selig said yesterday. From the Daily News:
And outgoing Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig said that when a player returns from a suspension, he has a clean slate in the eyes of the league.
“They do in my eyes. I’ve said that to a lot of players,” Selig said at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday afternoon, a visit that’s part of his farewell tour of all 30 MLB parks. “Listen, we’re a social institution. A guy does something, he gets disciplined, he comes back. We shouldn’t keep penalizing him.”
That’s right. Only baseball writers can do that.
Of course, another part of being treated like anyone else is being subject to being DFA’d if your current team doesn’t like you or want you. And that’s going to be the real A-Rod story of the offseason and spring training. As Selig said, “whatever happens between Alex and the Yankees will happen. It’s up to them now.” I have no clue what’s going to happen there.
On the one hand, I can see the Yankees just cutting ties. The thinking being that whatever the Yankees of the 20oos and 2010s have been, they ceased to be with the suspension, two non-playoff seasons and the retirement of Derek Jeter. Alex Rodriguez was a giant pain in the ass, he is now old, he is no longer any kind of bet to be an All-Star caliber performer and no one really needs the headache.
Part of me wonders, however, if someone on the Yankees will think “well, maybe there’s a chance he can still hit,” will look around and realize that there isn’t any kind of real offensive talent on the roster anyway and decide that they’ll at least give him a look-see in spring training.
It’s anyone’s guess, really. I feel like there are equal chances of him playing in New York, playing for some other team, being given a fair shake only to show that the age and layoff eroded his skills too greatly or showing that he can still play yet being given a total defacto blackball a la Barry Bonds and never playing baseball again anyway.