And then there was 24…
It could be the name of a highly successful TV series starring Kiefer Sutherland, it could be former Yankees great Constantino Martinez, or it could be new and future catcher Gary Sanchez. But today, the meaning is singular. The Yankees’ roster has essentially been running at 24 for the last few weeks with Alex Rodriguez sitting idle on the bench. But now, it’s official.
The roster action will be delayed but Friday, August 12th represents the final day with A-Rod in pinstripes. After the game on Friday, Alex will be unconditionally released and will sign an agreement with the Yankees to serve as a special advisor and instructor through December 31, 2017.
Obviously, the roster will stand at 24 only momentarily as the 25th spot will quickly be filled by someone like Aaron Judge or Tyler Austin. I suspect that it will be the latter as the Yankees will want to test one of the prime candidates to be Mark Teixeira’s replacement next year. Aaron Judge’s ascent to right field in the Bronx is a clearer path than the one Austin faces given the competition presented by Greg Bird and Rob Refsnyder.
I have not been a supporter of A-Rod and have actively wanted him off the roster for a few years now. I do recognize that when he came back after serving the year long suspension, he was a model citizen. He did not exhibit the narcissist behavior that had been such a part of his persona and infamy. Still, I have been ready to turn the page.
With the ascent of Gary Sanchez to the major leagues and the first few games showing that he is ready, it signaled the turning of the page. The sell-off at the trading deadline showed that Team Hal was ready to move forward and look to the future. Sanchez proving that he is ready to be the next great Yankees catcher, it has accelerated the plans to make Brian McCann either a first baseman or the full-time DH. The transition to the latter would make more sense. Of course, that would eliminate any chance of A-Rod getting any further at-bats. I still hold up hope the Yankees will pay some cash to move McCann back to the Atlanta Braves. But it’s actually good that the DH slot has been opened up as it will allow guys like Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner to cycle through the slot.
Back to A-Rod, I do think that he should pursue a role in the broadcasting booth in the fall play-offs. He showed that he had great value last year, and I do think he has a bright future in his post-playing career. The way he enjoys working with young players also shows that coaching is a strong possibility even if A-Rod says otherwise. Regardless, A-Rod has no shortage of future possibilities. I am thankful for his contributions to the New York Yankees, but I am glad this day has arrived. I will look forward to the August 12th game and will watch it with great interest. I will enjoy each A-Rod at-bat, and I will appreciate his final farewell.
Credit: Corey Sipkin, New York Daily News
So long, A-Rod…