NEW YORK —
Alex Rodriguez was speaking on a conference call.
"A huge debacle,'' he said. "Distasteful.''
That was on Dec. 13, 2007, when he re-signed with the New York Yankees and was discussing his decision 1 1/2 months earlier to become a free agent.
Now those words describe how some in the team's front office feel about A-Rod's $275 million, 10-year contract.
Once considered a player who could shatter the career home run record, Rodriguez has transformed from All-Star to annoyance for some in the Yankees organization. He hasn't played a full season since he was voted his third AL MVP award in 2007, he's out for at least the first half of this year following hip surgery on Jan. 16 and now he's been accused of again receiving performance-enhancing drugs - an allegation he denies.
Even before the charges were published Tuesday by the alternative weekly Miami New Times along with accusations against Melky Cabrera, Nelson Cruz, Gio Gonzalez, Bartolo Colon and Yasmani Grandal, some Yankees executives were wishing Rodriguez would just go away. Speaking on condition of anonymity because the team isn't publicly commenting on A-Rod's latest troubles, they revealed their frustration with the slugger.
And they have a big incentive for A-Rod to disappear. If he doesn't play again due to a career-ending injury, about 85 percent of the $114 million he's owed by the team would be covered by insurance, according to one of the executives who spoke on condition of anonymity.
New York also might be able to free itself from having the $27.5 million average annual value of Rodriguez's contract count in its luxury tax payroll in each of the next five seasons, a key factor as the Yankees try to get under the $189 million threshold in 2014.
If Rodriguez is on the disabled list, his contract is included. But if he's on the voluntary retired list, it would not be part of the total.
And if the Yankees fall under that $189 million benchmark, their luxury tax rate would drop from its current 50 percent to 17.5 percent for 2015. That would give them far more flexibility to pursue pitchers Clayton Kershaw, Felix Hernandez and Justin Verlander if they become free agents following the 2014 season.
New York is not likely to be able to void A-Rod's deal. Baseball's drug agreement between management and the players' association specifies the commissioner's office has all disciplinary authority for violations.
A-Rod's poor health, however, may provide the path to savings for the team.
While Rodriguez rebounded from right hip surgery in March 2009 to help the Yankees to their first World Series title since 2000, Dr. Bryan Kelly said recovery from his operation on A-Rod's left hip this month will be more complex if for no other reason than it receives more stress because Rodriguez is a right-handed hitter.
Even before the latest kerfuffle, A-Rod seemed to have worn out his welcome.
Yankees management tired of spotting him on the gossip pages with Madonna, Kate Hudson, Cameron Diaz and Torrie Wilson. They bristled when he was seen with a stripper in Toronto, at a swingers' club in Dallas and at an illegal poker club in New York.
They made their displeasure public in 2010 when they said they never authorized Rodriguez to be treated by Dr. Anthony Galea, who said he prescribed anti-inflammatories to A-Rod following the first hip operation. Indicted in part for illegal possession of human growth hormone with intent to distribute, the Canadian doctor pleaded guilty in 2011 to one count of introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce with the intent to mislead a U.S. agency.
Then came last year's playoffs, when Rodriguez was benched in three of nine games and pinch hit for in three others. He flirted with girls in the stands after he was removed from the AL championship series opener against Detroit.
Rodriguez's 647 home runs are 115 shy of tying Barry Bonds' career record but he has totaled just 34 the last two seasons and his 38th birthday is in late July. He has averaged 119 games, 21 homers and 81 RBIs over the last three years.
Before and after most games, when media is allowed to enter the Yankees' clubhouse, Rodriguez spends little time at his locker in the back left of the oval room, not too far from the entrance to the inner sanctum that contains the players' lounge, steam room, sauna, rubdown room, weight room, trainer's room and swimming pool. He doesn't have one of the prestige locations flanking the back entrance, held by Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano, who took over the spot when Jorge Posada retired.
He has never been accepted by Yankees' fans the same way they adored Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada. And now, with his increasing tabloid notoriety and declining production, some of the team's executives have concluded he's more a handicap than a help as the team strives for World Series title No. 28.
NEW YORK —
Alex Rodriguez was speaking on a conference call.
Claremore’s Webster tabbed 5A-4 Special Teams Player of Year
Claremore senior wide receiver Caleb Webster capped off his final year of high school football with the District 5A-4 Special Teams Player of the Year award.
It took a little over 57 minutes, but Bedlam finally broke out at Boone Pickens Stadium. That was when a defensive struggle turned into an offensive shootout.
Oklahoma landed the last two blows and left with a 33-24 upset victory in one of the most memorable games in the series’ 108-game history.
LCU Lady Chaps cruise past Rogers State, 84-65
The Rogers State women’s basketball team dropped a 84-65 decision to Lubbock Christian on Saturday afternoon at the Claremore Expo.
Ex-Zebra shooter Miller provides spark for Allen CC
The success of the Allen Community College Red Devils this season has been aided by former Claremore Zebra shooting guard Alex Miller.
The 6-foot-1 sophomore guard was one of five players to score in double figures during the Red Devils’ 80-76 win over Fort Scott (Kan.) last week.
Foyil’s Pierce named District A-8 top offensive lineman
The key to the Foyil Panthers’ football success over the past four seasons inside McGregor Field has been attributed to the leadership of senior offensive lineman Daltun Pierce’s ability to win the battle in the trenches.
Earlier this month, Pierce was named the District A-8 Offensive Lineman of the Year.
McCown, Bears flawless in 45-28 win over Cowboys
Neither the brutal cold nor the league's worst defense could stop Josh McCown and the Bears.
Instead, Chicago jumped right back into the playoff race.
McCown threw for a career-high four touchdowns, and the Bears scored on their first eight possessions to grab a share of the NFC North lead with a 45-28 victory over the Dallas Cowboys on a frigid Monday night.
OU releases 2014 women's softball schedule
University of Oklahoma Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Programs and Director of Athletics Joe Castiglione and Oklahoma softball head coach Patty Gasso have announced the Sooners’ 2014 softball schedule.
OU baseball season tickets on sale
Season tickets for the University of Oklahoma baseball 2014 season are now on sale to the public through SoonerSports.com. Tickets can also be purchased over the phone at 405-325-2424 or toll-free at 800-456-GoOU.
OU baseball hires new pitching coach
University of Oklahoma head baseball coach Pete Hughes has named Jamie Pinzino as the program’s new assistant baseball and pitching coach. Pinzino, a 12-year veteran in the collegiate ranks and seven-year head coach, comes to Norman after a one-year stint as head coach at William & Mary, preceded by one year as an assistant for the Tribe.
OU baseball announces 'mini-pack' ticket packages
Baseball mini-packs are on sale now for the University of Oklahoma’s 2014 season. The “Grand Slam Package” allows fans to pick any for games for a special low price of $32. This package includes reserved seats and represents a 33% discount off the regular single-game reserved price. Order online at SoonerSports.com or call (800) 456-GoOU.
- More Sports Headlines
- Claremore’s Webster tabbed 5A-4 Special Teams Player of Year