Alex Rodriguez is going out in style.
At a recent press conference, Alex Rodriguez and the Yankees unveiled their plans for the celebrated baseball veteran to exit the franchise. He’ll be doing so in pinstripes when the Yankees play the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday, a game that will be broadcast nationally, Entertainment Weekly reports.
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) August 7, 2016
After Friday’s game, Alex Rodriguez, affectionately known as A-Rod by fans, will be released from his contract with the Yankees. But A-Rod won’t be leaving the game of baseball altogether. After his release, he will transition into an instructor’s role with the Yankees.
He will be paid the remainder of his player’s salary this year and the following year. According to USA Today, Alex Rodriguez’s contract entitles him to $5 million from the Yankees for the rest of the year and $21 million for 2017. He was originally signed to a 10-year, $275 million contract when he became a member of the team.
During the press conference, Rodriguez seemed to express some latent regret about the way his career was ending.
“No athlete ever ends his or her career the way you want to,” he said. “We all want to play forever. But it doesn’t work that way. Accepting the end gracefully is part of being a professional athlete. Saying goodbye may be the hardest part of the job, but that’s what I’m doing today.”
In fact, according to Fox Sports, leaving the Yankees wasn’t A-Rod’s decision. The Yankees approached him and said that they wanted to release him. The revelation came as a shock to Rodriguez.
“It’s both a happy and sad day,” he said in an interview with Fox Sports. “I’m obviously disappointed but I’m also at peace with their decision.”
As USA Today reports, Alex Rodriguez currently has the fourth highest number of career home runs of any hitter in the world. He’s also a 14-time All-Star.
Alex Rodriguez currently has 696 career HRs, 4th most on baseball’s all-time list. pic.twitter.com/YoyduIxinT
— Baseball Tonight (@BBTN) August 7, 2016
“This is a tough day,” Rodriguez said at Sunday’s press conference. “I love this game, and I love this team. And today, I’m saying goodbye to both.”
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) August 7, 2016
The 22-year baseball veteran has faced some highs and lows in his career. He’s won two MVP Awards and had a brilliant 2009 post-season, USA Today notes. But he also spent a year banned from the sport in 2014 because of his link to the Biogenesis drug scandal.
Rodriguez was implicated in the scandal when Anthony Bosch, the owner of the clinic that supplied baseball players with performance enhancing drugs, said that he administered drugs to the Yankees’ star player.
As the Guardian reported at the time, the owner of the Biogenesis clinic went on 60 Minutes and said that A-Rod paid him $12,000 a month for the drugs which included testosterone, steroids, insulin, and human growth hormone. However, Rodriguez repeatedly stated that he never took performance enhancing drugs. According to the Guardian, 14 baseball players were suspended because of their links to the Biogenesis drug scandal, but Alex Rodriguez was the only one who appealed his ban.
Rodriguez, who has been playing for the Yankees since 2004, told Fox Sports that he had not let go of the idea of playing for another team. But for now he is focused on his final game as a Yankee against the Tampa Bay Rays.
“Honestly, my horizon is pinstripes and Friday. It’s been such an emotional couple of days that I can’t really think beyond that right now.”
As Fox Sports reports, A-Rod’s release seems to be a part of the Yankees’ efforts to nurture young talent for their team. Older players have recently been traded and veteran first baseman, Mark Teixeira, recently announced his retirement.
“This is what the organization wants right now,” Rodriguez said. “Obviously, there’s a shift. There’s a youth movement.”
[Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images]