Alex Rodriguez’ legendary career has less than a week remaining as he will play in his final game on Friday, August 12, before assuming a role as a special advisor and instructor, the team announced in a press release. He will be granted his unconditional release following Friday’s game vs. the Tampa Bay Rays before starting on his new duties in the Yankees farm system in Spring Training next year.
Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner released the following statement.
“After spending several days discussing this plan with Alex, I am pleased that he will remain a part of our organization moving forward and transition into a role in which I know he can flourish. We have an exciting group of talented young players at every level of our system. Our job as an organization is to utilize every resource possible to allow them to reach their potential, and I expect Alex to directly contribute to their growth and success. Baseball runs through his blood. He’s a tireless worker and an astute student of the game. Alex has already proven to be a willing and effective mentor to many players who have come through our clubhouse, and I am confident that this next phase of his baseball life will bring out the best in Alex and the next generation of Yankees.”
Rodriguez, 41, has been the topic of much speculation in recent weeks as his playing time has gone from scarce to non-existent. The 22-year veteran is hitting just.204/.252/.356 with nine homers and 29 runs batted in. He has not recorded a base hit since a pinch-hit single on July 29 at Tampa Bay. Rodriguez’ last home run came on July 18, a moonshot off Baltimore Orioles’ pitcher Chris Tillman.
With the Yankees going in a youth-oriented direction, dealing away several veterans at the trade deadline, carrying an aging veteran without roster flexibility created a huge distraction.
Alex Rodriguez is 1 of 10 players to win 3 MVP awards and 1 of just 6 to win multiple MVP awards with the Yankees. pic.twitter.com/XYwvi70br8
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 7, 2016
“It’s a tough day, I love this game, I love this team, and today I’m saying goodbye to both,” Rodriguez said, holding back tears at a press conference announcing his retirement.
After posting a productive.250/.356/.486 slash line with 33 home runs and 86 RBIs in 151 games last year, Rodriguez was expected to be an integral part of the lineup this season. However, Rodriguez battled a right hamstring strain earlier this season, costing him nearly a month of action.
“It’s been painful and embarrassing… it’s been awkward [sitting on the bench],” Rodriguez said. “Of course I think I can play baseball, you always think you have one more hit in you or can help the team win. It was the Yankees decision. I’m at peace.”
Alex Rodriguez’ Yankee teammates listen to his farewell address this morning https://t.co/W3z59qUbOC pic.twitter.com/nQNDUJ2y4p
— wallace matthews (@ESPNNYYankees) August 7, 2016
Manager Joe Girardi said he will talk to Rodriguez about what he wants to do in regards to his final game. Girardi said Rodriguez could play in the field on Friday. Rays’ right-hander Chris Archer is scheduled to start on Friday; Rodriguez hit a home run off Archer earlier this season.
“I think he’s meant a lot to this game,” Girardi said of Rodriguez, who is just one of three players in history — along with Barry Bonds and Willie Mays — to hit 500 homers and steal 300 bases. “I think he’s provided excitement around the country and around the world for years with the numbers he’s put up. This has been a special player for a long time.”
Rodriguez has posted historic numbers over his career 22-year career (12 of those seasons coming with the Yankees). Entering Sunday, he has 3,114 hits (20th all-time), 696 homers (fourth all-time), 2,084 RBIs (third all-time), 2,021 runs, and 329 stolen bases — Hall of Fame-worthy numbers if not for his admitted history of performance-enhancing drug use.
Alex Rodriguez on final game: “Accepting the end gracefully is part of being a professional athlete.” pic.twitter.com/9XPI0ZLJY9
— ABC News (@ABC) August 7, 2016
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman was asked what Rodriguez’ legacy — given his PED history — will be. The longtime Yankees executive placed his 2009 World Series ring on the table, saying he wouldn’t have it if not for A-Rod’s contributions that year.
Rodriguez hit.378 with six homers and 18 RBIs in 15 postseason games that year. Also, Rodriguez is an all-time great Yankee as he’s sixth in franchise history in home runs (351) and slugging percentage (.523), and 11th in RBIs (1,094), per ESPN Stats & Info.
“I’m hopefully going to be remembered as somebody who tripped and fell a lot but always got back up,” Rodriguez said.
[Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images]