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Yankees should say adios to Alex Rodriguez

Yankees should say adios to Alex Rodriguez

Yankees should say adios to Alex Rodriguez
Mike Lupica

The Yankees have about three weeks left to decide how much Alex Rodriguez is worth to them. This is what they should do: Let him go if he wants to go.

By now you know the deal about his deal. The Yankees say that if Rodriguez exercises a contractual right to become a free agent within 10 days after the World Series ends, then they will tell him not to let the clubhouse door at Yankee Stadium hit him in the exact same place where he and the Yankees have ended up in October since he came to town.

Because here is the question, not just for Yankee fans, but for any good sports fan of the city of New York: How much do YOU think A-Rod is worth?

At a time when A-Rod and his bagman, Scott Boras - who loves the sound of his own voice lately the way Mother Teresa loved the poor - want the Yankees or somebody else to invest more money in him per season than any ballplayer in history, how invested are YOU in A-Rod's future?

Boras, the agent, is one of the great buttoned-down phonies of baseball in this way: Every time he has a big client looking for the biggest possible money, he talks about organizations and relationships and "dynamics." Boras is huge on dynamics. But everybody who knows his record and his client's record knows that the only dynamic here is the most money.

This is not about loyalty to the Yankees, or Yankee tradition - and doesn't have to be, by the way. Boras is a businessman and A-Rod is a businessman and they can shoot for the moon again, the way they did with the Texas Rangers seven years ago when he became a free agent the first time.

Just don't suggest, even for a New York minute, that this has anything to do with who the next manager of the Yankees is. Rodriguez couldn't care less as long as he gets paid $30 million a year or $35 million a year or whatever he and Boras are looking for.

This is about getting paid. Or A-Rod was just passing through here the way Hillary Clinton was.

Understand: If the Yankees allow him to break the Bank of Steinbrenner as a way of keeping him away from free agency, they are not just saying that he stays on as their third baseman and cleanup man and top run producer. It is so much more than that, both realistically and symbolically.

Pay A-Rod this way and they are officially making him the centerpiece of their franchise and the face of their franchise for the next decade.

It won't be Derek Jeter, won't be the new manager and won't be Joba Chamberlain. It will be A-Rod, who puts up huge numbers except at the time of year when the greatness of the New York Yankees has been grandly defined. Bucky Dent has a more impressive October résumé with one swing.

People say A-Rod's not the only one who let the Yankees down. He's not. But he's the guy routinely called the best player in the game, the one who's supposed to break the all-time home run record someday, the one who is obsessed, along with Boras, with breaking contract records.

The bar is supposed to be set higher for him.

And yet his numbers are so low in the last three postseasons and when the Yankees began to fall apart against the Red Sox in 2004 that you need to scrape them off the bottom of shoes. The first six guys in the Red Sox batting order all did more for their team against the Indians than A-Rod has done for the Yankees lately.

We keep hearing how "random" the playoffs are. Hear it about the outgoing manager especially. Well, somebody down in Tampa asked this question to Joe Torre the other day, and it was a pretty good one if you ask me: How come we never heard about how random things were in the playoffs until the Yankees stopped winning them?

The Red Sox are in the same random, crapshoot playoffs and have now gotten off the deck and come back from 3-0 down and 3-1 down in the last four years, and which of A-Rod's Yankee teams do you think were capable of that? The Red Sox were able to do this because their biggest stars - David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez - stepped up to the plate in all ways.

And right in the crazy happy scene at Fenway Park when the Red Sox won a pennant Yankee fans still think should have belonged to them was a kid who looked like a bat boy. His name is Dustin Pedroia and he plays second base for the Red Sox. In two innings of Game 7 and two at-bats against the Indians, he knocked in more postseason runs for his team than Alex Rodriguez has in three years for the Yankees.

Now A-Rod wants to be paid as if he's indispensable, because the Yankees wouldn't have made it to the playoffs this year without him. True enough. Here's something else that is true: They sure don't make the World Series very much with him on their side.

It is why the Yankees should absolutely call his bluff about opting out. If he really wants to go, let him.

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