Don’t hold your breath for a comeback attempt by Alex Rodriguez. The Yankees’ new special adviser confirmed his intention to stay retired. He also nixed the idea of managing someday.
As he begins his stint as a New York Yankees special assistant, Alex Rodriguez wants to make one thing abundantly clear: His playing days are over. Ever since the press conference last August, in which he announced his retirement at week’s end, the rumor mill has speculated that A-Rod would get the opportunity to continue playing elsewhere… and take it.
According to ESPN’s Andrew Marchand, Rodriguez discussed that topic with the media at Yankees Spring Training in Tampa yesterday, and he admitted that he thought about making a comeback for about a week after his final bow.
Article continues below ...
“I thought about it for a minute,” Rodriguez said. “I flew the whole family home after that Friday night. I thought about it a little bit that weekend. I was fortunate to have a few offers. I called them back and said, ‘No thank you.'”
A-Rod says he is enjoying retirement and excited about his new role as an adviser for the team with which he spent (an often tumultuous) 12 seasons, putting his chances of playing again at “zero.” Per Marchand, Rodriguez also said he is talking about potentially doing some work with the YES Network, the Yankees’ regional cable channel.
If you watched that late-summer press conference in which A-Rod’s career came to an abrupt end, you might be a bit surprised that he seems so certain now that he will never return to the field. A tearful Rodriguez reminisced about coming up with the Mariners as an 18-year-old. He implied that hanging up the spikes wasn’t his idea and that he believed he still had something left in the tank. It became clear that the Yankees intended to cut him one way or another to clear playing time for their youngsters. They gave him an opportunity to exit gracefully and with a role in the organization.
However, surely A-Rod the competitor wouldn’t want to go out with an ugly .200/.247/.351 slash line in his final season? Not to mention that he is only four home runs shy of the 700 mark, a career milestone attained by just three individuals in baseball history. Perhaps a move to the Marlins in his Miami hometown would be enough to re-energize him?
Those thoughts probably all bounced around in Rodriguez’s head, but so did these ones: He’s 42 years old. He has two surgically repaired hips. The daily grind of being a professional baseball player is just physically more difficult than it’s ever been. Those are realities that most players have to face at one point or another, especially those select few fortunate enough to log over two decades in the league.
Not to mention that A-Rod truly seems to be settling into retired life. He frequently posts photos and videos of himself spending time with his two daughters on social media. He earned rave reviews for his performance as an analyst for FOX Sports during the World Series. He’s exploring the business side of things as well, and is developing a new series with CNBC about athletes in financial trouble. Rodriguez has a virtually unlimited number of avenues open to him, and it seems the possibilities are more than enough to overcome any temptation he feels to play again.
One place you probably won’t see him, though? The manager’s chair. Even before he retired, many had pegged A-Rod as a potential future skipper. While he’s been a lightning-rod for controversy throughout his career, the man is the ultimate student of the game. His natural baseball insights and voracious film-watching habits are well-known, and would serve him well in steering his own team. Nevertheless, he says he’s not interested, for the Yankees or any other club.
Rodriguez’s legacy will likely remain an enigma for years to come. Some will always hate him for his PED use, perceived arrogant attitude and any number of other things. Others will point to his conciliatory nature since returning from 2014’s year-long suspension as the sign of a changed man. Who knows whether the mood of voters will have changed enough to elect A-Rod to the Hall of Fame when he becomes eligible. The gradually shifting tide on Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens suggests it’s more realistic than it once seemed.
But if you watch and listen to Rodriguez now, he genuinely seems at peace with himself, more interested in what he can do in the future than the things he can’t change about the past. Not long ago, A-Rod have may scratched and clawed to stay in the game, at least to get those extra four homers. The fact that he’s so willing to turn the page now is probably the greatest sign that he really has evolved.