Alex Rodriguez Sending Mixed Signals About Playing in 2017

Former New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez has dropped several hints about the status of his future playing career recently.

Almost immediately following Alex Rodriguez’s final game with the New York Yankees on August 12th, speculation began that he would attempt to continue his playing career with another club.

The 41-year-old designated hitter had been more or less forced off the roster by ownership after hitting .200/.247/.351 (58 OPS+) in 243 plate appearances to begin the year, so it seemed reasonable to speculate that he might not be ready to call it quits.

It quickly became clear that there would be at least some degree of interest in his services if he were to continue playing, when several members of the Miami Marlins front office and coaching staff spoke out about having interest in bringing Al, a Miami native, on board in the week following his release from the Yankees.

That idea was quickly squashed with a press release from A-Rod’s publicist, who announced that his client would not be playing professional baseball again this season, although his choice of words did leave the door open for a return to action in 2017.

Rodriguez kept a fairly low profile in the months since his last game with the Yankees, but has recently begun to step back into the public eye. He has signed on to do a series of speaking engagements, began working with New York’s prospects in the Fall Instructional League, and re-joined the Fox Sports broadcast team as an analyst during their coverage of the 2016 postseason.

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It was there that Rodriguez made his first public comment about his future on the field since stepping away from the Yankees. When asked how it felt to lace up his cleats for the last time, A-Rod paused for a moment and simply said, “Stay tuned.” The obvious implication there is that he doesn’t want to commit to having played his last MLB game, although he did stop short of confirming that his career would continue.

Of course, Hannah Withiam of the New York Post also recently pointed out that Rodriguez referred to himself as retired in Miami’s Ocean Drive magazine. Does that mean anything? Not really, but it supports reports from August that Rodriguez told his friends at the time that he was done with his playing career.

As much as I love A-Rod, I think attempting a comeback next year would be a mistake. He looked pretty cooked last year, and watching past their prime athletes try and hold on is always sad. He had a nice dignified send off and a chance to repair his relationship with his longtime club. Rodriguez seems like he’ll be a great coach and/or broadcaster, and it’s probably time to embrace those roles.

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