I need to get a message to the Dodgers and Angels, and I need to do it quick.
A baseball player suddenly became available this week who is just their type. He has star power. He plays a cornerstone infield position. He is insanely overpaid.
He has won more World Series rings than Adrian Gonzalez. He has more home runs than Albert Pujols. Only a handful of teams can afford him, but our locals have fistfuls of money. Only a few teams could endure his distractions, but Hollywood sells tickets to distractions.
This player is going to tempt the Dodgers the way banged-up old guys from San Francisco tempt Ned Colletti. He is going to tempt the Angels the way Ernesto Frieri tempts Mike Scioscia whenever Zack Greinke has thrown 109 brilliant pitches.
Time is short, winter is approaching, and I need to pass along this message to the Dodgers and Angels before it’s too late.
I need to reach them before this player packs away the hoodie he wore while spending much of the postseason on the bench. I need to reach them before the ink dries on the phone number scribbled across a baseball during a postseason game by one of his potential groupies.
I want to reach them before the dude again laughs about it all as if it doesn’t matter.
His name is Alex Rodriguez, a former five-tool superstar whose potential move to the Southland has inspired me to send a message containing just five words.
Don’t even think about it.
The New York Yankees are apparently going to dump the highest-paid athlete in American professional team sports, and I guarantee they are going to try to dump him here, and, for once, I hope our heroes say their dumping ground is closed.
For once, don’t take the guy with the bad contract on the downside of his career. For once, don’t take somebody else’s nightmare and think he can be just dreamy.
You may have noticed A-Rod recently. He finished his season Thursday in full fetal position after one of the worst personal collapses in baseball postseason history. With five years and $114 million remaining on his record contract, he checked out on the Yankees when they needed him most.
In nine playoff games, he was benched three times, removed for a pinch-hitter three times, and batted .120. In mostly watching the Yankees swept from the American League Championship Series by the Detroit Tigers in four games, Rodriguez had one single in nine at-bats.
And when the going got tough, the tough got flirty. While sitting on the bench after being lifted for a pinch-hitter in the ALCS opener, Rodriguez apparently sent a baseball into the stands with the request that an Australian bikini model return the ball with her phone number.
If eventually he got to second base with her, well, that’s as far as he got with the Yankees. He did not start another playoff game, and if you think that is a coincidence, think again. When asked about the flirting incident, General Manager Brian Cashman offered no comment, and that was all he needed to say.
So he’s 37, and he hasn’t hit as many as 20 homers or driven in 65 runs in either of the last two seasons. The Yankees will be looking to ship him out, and the only thing certain is that the Dodgers and Angels will be mentioned in probably every speculative story.
The Dodgers are currently uncertain about third base, with worries that Luis Cruz would be exposed if he played an entire season combined with fears that Hanley Ramirez wouldn’t adjust to a position switch. The Angels could also use some more pop at third base, plus they are looking to crawl out from underneath the contract of outfielder Vernon Wells, who is still owed $42 million.
Both teams have not only the need, and not only the money, but also the crazy desire.
I’ve never seen a bigger baseball fan in an ownership position than Mark Walter, the Dodgers chairman who leaps from his seat for home runs and bounces to the box seat railing to high-five players. It’s very cool, very refreshing. But when you think about him giddily picking up the star cluster that is A-Rod after taking chances on the expensive likes of Ramirez and Carl Crawford, it’s also very scary.
I’ve never seen an owner who gets more upset at losing than Arte Moreno, who spent most of last season scowling and will probably spend most of this winter scouring the league not only to reward his beloved Angels fans, but also feed his competitive beast. This trait can also be scary when you realize there is a chance that Pujols will be in the same shaky position as Rodriguez in the final few years of his 10-year, $240-million deal.
Both owners need to realize they can become heavyweight without another anvil.
I’m not yet sold on the inspirational Cruz like many fans, but I’d much rather be hearing “Cruuuz” than boos. The Angels, who have bigger signing issues with Greinke and Torii Hunter, also have an offense that can be upgraded simply with Pujols’ starting sooner and Mark Trumbo’s lasting longer.
Neither team needs A-Rod. Neither team should be a sucker for past greatness that was A-Rod. He hasn’t had a home run in 84 postseason at-bats. He hasn’t made a real impact in two regular seasons. He’s done in New York, he would be done here, and even when the Yankees offer to absorb a chunk of his contract while ridding the locals of some of their bad ones?
Don’t even think about it.
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Alex Rodriguez’s 2012
ALDS vs. Baltimore
*--* AB R HR RBI SO AVG. 16 1 0 0 9 125 *--*
ALCS vs. Detroit
*--* AB R HR RBI SO AVG. 9 0 0 0 3 111 *--*