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Is Alex Rodriguez Untradeable Right Now?

Posted by Dale "Skip" Lalonde on 4/7/2013 7:25:45 PM

It’s a good bet that Alex Rodriguez, though a player who has already performed for three Major League Baseball clubs, will not soon join a fourth one. The more time passes, the harder it is to accept the notion that A-Rod will be traded to another club. He seems to be stuck with the New York Yankees, and the Yankees are stuck with him as well.

An online casino – if pressed to put down a set of odds or propositions relating to Rodriguez’s place of employment at the end of this MLB season, would want to establish the Yankees as the heavy favorite. Even an mma betting expert with very little working knowledge of the rhythms of professional baseball would arrive at such a conclusion after briefly surveying this specific situation.

For one thing, Rodriguez has been dogged by a fresh wave of suspicions that he has been using substances that have been banned by Major League Baseball. A-Rod has lingered under this cloud of skepticism before, and that’s part of what will make him radioactive on the trade market, a non-starter for any team that’s looking for a good defensive third baseman and a bat with decent pop. If the performance-enhancing drug (PED) use allegations stick, and Rodriguez does not squirm out of trouble the way Ryan Braun and other big-league players have done in recent years, A-Rod will have to sit 50 games, per MLB policy. Combined with his attempt to recuperate from hip surgery, one can envision a scenario in which A-Rod never gets back to the diamond in 2013. The Yankees could decide to sit him for two months. Then he could sit for 50 games and be seen as a non-item at the trade deadline. The Yankees could then keep him on the roster but not play him in August and September, then dump him after the season when they wouldn't owe him quite as much money. A scenario akin to that is entirely possible.

Whatever emerges from such a scenario, the bottom line is that none of these possible outcomes are palatable or desirable for other teams interested in bolstering their batting order. There are too many unanswered questions, too many red flags, and too many unsettling realities that are part of the equation as far as Alex Rodriguez is concerned. He’s not on the upside of his career. He likely has just a few seasons left in which he can make a meaningful contribution to a roster. He’s being boxed in not just by his own decisions and his less stable physical health, but by the forces of time, the eternal constant that eventually pulls in every athlete.

It’s true that A-Rod's rehab from hip surgery could be made to coincide with a 50-game suspension, leaving 112 games in which he could come back and, with a fresher body, make some contributions to any big-league lineup, thereby adding to his value on the trade market. There is a path that leads out of New York, but will other teams pounce if A-Rod becomes available? It’s hard to see it at this point.

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