Like him or not, Alex Rodriguez is one of the most well-known people to ever play the game of baseball. Through dingers and suspensions, celebrations and controversies, he's been near the heart of it all for the past two decades. That will come to an end after the 2017 season.
When A-Rod infamously opted out of the record-shattering 10-year, $252 million deal during the 2007 World Series, it set up another enormous contract. Coming off perhaps his greatest season, a 54-homer throttling that won him the MVP award, it would have been tough for the Yankees to let him walk away. Although Hank Steinbrenner popped off to the media about how they would never take him back after opting out, they eventually came to an agreement on another 10-year deal worth $275 million that had several home run incentives.
It's been a crazy journey since then with the highs of the 2009 World Series title and the lows of his Biogenesis suspension, but at this point, A-Rod is now pretty clearly a beloved figure in the Yankees' clubhouse. A decent portion of baseball fans have come around on him too, perhaps weary of Major League Baseball's highly shady investigation of him in 2013. A-Rod found respite in 2015 with a stunning 33-homer comeback season that saw him reach the 3,000 hit plateau.
With just two years left on that 10-year deal, A-Rod confirmed to ESPN's Andrew Marchand what almost everyone guessed. He will retire once it expires at the end of the 2017:
As writer Bill Parker joked on Twitter, this isn't really news since A-Rod wasn't going to platoon DH for the Royals or anything like that. Everything seemed to be lining up toward a 2017 retirement. He had no real reason to leave money on the table, and his 2015 showed that he wasn't washed up. Even if he won't quite reach Hank Aaron or Barry Bonds, there is still some power in his bat that could really help the Yankees over the next two years if his twice-surgically repaired hips hold up.
I don't personally care how much of A-Rod's numbers are disregarded by some fans. They're still incredible to consider:
- 687 homers, 342 as a Yankee
- MLB record 25 grand slams, 15 as a Yankee
- 3070 hits, 1535 as a Yankee
- 2719 games, 1444 as a Yankee
- 2002 runs scored, 993 as a Yankee
- 1324 walks, 765 as a Yankee
- .297/.383/.554 triple slash, .287/.383/.530 as a Yankee
- 3 AL MVP awards, 14 All-Star appearances
- 10 Silver Sluggers, 2 Gold Gloves, and a smooth mid-career transition to 3rd
And of course...
No one will ever forget the 2009 championship and everything A-Rod did to help make that possible.
Let's add a couple more rings to celebrate the retirement. Happy trails, bud.