The New York Yankees are always involved in baseball conversations throughout Spring Training and the regular season.
In team discussions, when the Bronx Bombers are brought up it is more often than not because they are once again going to be in the thick of the race for at least an American League East crown, if not the World Series crown, as well.
But when talks involving single Yankee players pop into the headlines, the reason can run the gamut.
Last year for instance, Derek Jeter consumed the baseball world from the first day of Spring practices on since it was the beginning of the end of his career. His farwell tour.
That was fine.
Jeter is respected among all circles in baseball, was one of the best short stop to ever play the game, as well as one of the best Yankees to ever wear the pinstripes.
He was The Captain.
Sometime in the very near future he will be the final player to wear a singe digit number to have his jersey retired by the team, and in five years will undoubtedly be elected to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.
This year, however, another single Yankee player is in the foreground of baseball conversations.
But, as usual for this player, he’s in the headlines and is a part of the conversation for not for the greatest reasons.
That player is Alex Rodriguez.
Rodriguez, who was suspended all of last year due to his use of performance-enhancing drugs and his involvement with Anthony Bosch, is already creating uproar and controversy and the calendar hasn’t even flipped to March yet.
Baseball was pure last year. Rid almost entirely of A-Rod for all of the regular season and post season.
This year will be different, though. Rodriguez is back and there aren’t a lot of people that are happy about it.
The Yankees front office certainly isn’t pleased with his return.
Brian Cashman (Yankees General Manager), Hal Steinbrenner (Yankees owner), and company tried to not only make it so that the team wouldn’t have to pay the slugger a $6 million bonus if he hits a milestone home run either this year or through the remainder of his contract with the team, they also explored the financial toll it would put on the club if they released him during the offseason.
With Rodriguez still having three years and $61 million remaining on his contract, removing him entirely from the franchise would be too expensive.
Not only are the Yankees and Rodriguez battling off the field and in the courtroom, they are battling in the dugout as well.
Rodriguez feels he can still be the every-day third baseman for the Yankees, however, New York told Rodriguez that he will not be the team’s third baseman and that he will be the team’s designated hitter, in light of the team signing the much younger Chase Headley to a three-year deal.
A-Rod will turn 40 this season, didn’t play all of last year, and only played in 44 games in 2013 due to a hip injury, which required surgery.
During this year he will be under constant watch and scrutiny, and be talked about entirely way too much.
But here’s something to keep in mind baseball fans. When you roll your eyes every time you see his name in the headlines, unless you’re a Yankees fan just remember, he’s not on your team.
So be thankful about that.