Monday, January 13, 2014

Not even the Bronx Zoo can compare to the circus that Alex Rodriguez has brought to the Yankees. With all of the chaos surrounding A-Rod and the 162 game suspension that was announced on Saturday, the embattled third baseman still plans to show up at the Yankees' Spring Training complex when the team gets there in mid-February.

Because the suspension removes him from the 40-man roster, A-Rod has to be invited to Spring Training by the Yankees, and there is no way that would ever happen.

In all likelihood, he's going to show up -- along with the 10,000 media members following him around -- and the Yankees are going to tell him that he can do his business across the street, away from the Major League that is actually trying to prepare to win a championship this season.

But no matter what the Yankees try to do to him, he's going to fight it tooth and nail just like he's done with everything else.

At this point, no one wants to have to deal with another minute of the A-Rod fiasco. Not MLB. Not the Yankees. And I'm sure the MLBPA is tired of having to defend him.

And there is only one way that the Yankees can truly get this to stop being a distraction in the clubhouse -- they cut him. Even after the season-long ban, the Yankees will still own Rodriguez $61 million over the next three seasons. All in guaranteed money that they're not getting back.

So no matter where A-Rod is two, three years from now, the Yankees are going to be paying him, and there is almost nothing they can do about -- the best they could do to this point was hope that Frederick Horowitz ruled in favor of a long suspension, and they got that.

But there are a few different factors that play into Hal Steinbrenner having to make that decision: 1. How good is he going to be once he comes back in 2015, and 2. Is eating $61 million really worth getting rid of this guy for good?

You can look at it from a few different angles, mainly depending on who's side you're on here.

From the on-the-field perspective, A-Rod would be the best third baseman on the Yankees' roster if he were allowed the play this season. Remember how bad Yankees third baseman were performing last season until A-Rod stepped in? Let's just say he hit more homeruns and drove in more RBIs in his short stay compared to the rest of the players that trotted out there combined.

Obviously A-Rod is far from the player he was in his prime, but he's still a heck of a lot better than Eduardo Nunez, when healthy.

Of the Yankees choose to keep him on the team, they can let him come back in 2015, see what he has to offer to the team on the field, then make a decision from there. The Yankees don't seem to be making any trade for Chase Headly anytime soon, so giving A-Rod a chance to prove himself is worth the shot.

Or you can look at this situation the way a lot of people are: Get the distraction out of there as soon as possible. Like I said before, the last thing Derek Jeter wants to do this Spring Training is answer questions about a guy that's not even going to be on the field with him this season. Instead, he wants to focus about getting back on the field and helping the Yankees get back to the playoffs.

The Yankees didn't spend a ton of money for A-Rod to be the headline of the team. Getting ready for for the upcoming season should be priority No. 1, not what A-Rod is doing across the street at minor league camp.

No matter how you look at this situation, A-Rod is also effecting the team with everything he is doing. I know that just about every guy in the Yankees' clubhouse has been around the game for awhile and knows how to conduct business in a professional manner, but this is a distraction that can't be a part of the daily schedule.

So, Hal Steinbrenner, you've got a choice to make: Do you let this A-Rod story become a part for the clubhouse all season and what for his return in 2015, or do you write the check for $61 million and waive goodbye to Alex Rodriguez for the final time? It's not an easy decision, but it's one he has to make.


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