This is my second year of covering the Yankees and I’m no closer to figuring Alex Rodriguez out than I was my first day.
Gracious and witty one day, he will be distant the next. Trying to start a conversation with him can be difficult. But none of that is a crime. It’s my job to get comments from him, not his job to accomodate me. I’ve learned to live with that.
But today was a reminder that A-Rod doesn’t always bring it on himself.
Alex recently did an interview with HBO and praised Lou Piniella. Considering Piniella was his first manager in the majors and remains his friend, that certainly seems like a reasonable thing for him to do. But this column says the interview was really code that A-Rod likes Piniella more than Joe Torre and wants to play for the Cubs next season. Never mind that Rodriguez himself denied that. The denial was at the bottom of the story.
“A-Rod sounds like future Cub,” the headline said.
So thousands of people think A-Rod is the bad guy, even though all he did was say something nice about Piniella. He becomes an unwitting tool to further attack Torre with.
Later in the day, the well-connected Jon Heyman of SI.com revealed that eight teams wanted to trade for A-Rod over the winter and that he would be an attractive free agent if he opts out of his contract at the end of the season. It’s an interesting piece.
Scott Boras is terrific at building the value of his clients and, via Heyman, he presents a compelling case. If I had a son who played baseball at a high level, I would want Boras representing him. But Alex probably needs to tell Boras to stop talking about the option. It’s only going to become a distraction.
Alex himself has pledged nothing but his desire to help the Yankees win the Series. If he wanted out, all he had to do was ask. He said he wanted to stay and he said it 10 minutes after stinking up the joint in the playoffs last season.
Like him or not, he has been straight up about that. No, he didn’t renounce his contract option. He’s not an idiot. If your company offered you a chance to earn more money next year, would you refuse?
Here is all I know for sure: I see Alex on his way to work out in the gym at Legends Field every morning around 8:15. That’s about an hour before most of his teammates show up. Every time I walk by the cage, he’s taking extra hitting. I have friends who have seen him at night in a private gym working out again.
For a guy who supposedly wants out, he’s certainly working awfully hard for the Yankees.
Do I wish he would be a little more easy-going with the beat writers? Sure I do. But it can’t be easy when you do nothing wrong and you still lose.