With speculation growing that the Yankees soon will release him, Alex Rodriguez made it clear Tuesday he hopes that doesn’t happen. But he sounded as if he wouldn’t be shocked if it did.
“Whatever they do, I’m at peace,” Rodriguez said before the Yankees lost, 7-1, to the Mets Tuesday night. “I’m fine with everything. Of course, I would love to play. I love to play. That’s what I do, right? But I haven’t been very good. That’s on me.”
Rodriguez, who was not in the starting lineup in the DH-less game at Citi Field, isn’t going to be getting many at-bats if the Yankees do keep him. With the team waving the white flag on the season with the trades of Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller and Carlos Beltran, at-bats increasingly will be going to younger players, not a 41-year-old who is batting .204.
“Look, I’ve had a long career,” said Rodriguez, who is four home runs shy of 700. “I’ve been through a lot. I’m happy to be a Yankee. I love New York. I think I have a lot to contribute still. But you have to be realistic . . . I know that the organization has a brighter future today than it did last week. And hopefully I’m part of that equation. But if I’m not, I can accept it, very clearly.”
The only thing standing in the Yankees’ way is money. Rod riguez is owed about $7 million for the rest of this season and $21 million for 2017. Whether he stays on the roster or is released, he will collect every penny.
Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner, appearing on “The Michael Kay Show” on ESPN 98.7, said the team has not talked about releasing A-Rod. Yet.
“Let me put it this way: I haven’t discussed with the baseball people anything about what we’re going to be doing in the hours and days to come,” Steinbrenner said. “The last two weeks have been about trades, trades, trades.”
Asked about eating the money, Steinbrenner said: “My job is to do what’s best for the organization. For our fans’ sake, to do what’s best for the organization and for the team overall. That’s always going to be my focus.”
Joe Girardi confirmed he will not be using Rod riguez as his primary DH even with Beltran gone when the Yankees return to American League rules Wednesday night. Those at-bats will go to younger players, starting with catcher Gary Sanchez, who is expected to be recalled Wednesday to DH against Mets lefty Steven Matz.
Rodriguez pinch hit with two outs in the ninth inning Tuesday night and popped out to rightfield.
Girardi also delivered what could be considered a heartfelt farewell to Rodriguez’s time with the Yankees.
“This has been difficult,” Girardi said. “For him, difficult for this organization, difficult for me. Alex has meant a lot to me and you don’t want to see any player go through struggles. It’s really hard. You do it in a market like this, it becomes even harder. It takes a toll on people, because there’s a lot of emotions in it. Alex and I have been through a lot together and it’s hard for him and it’s hard for me.”
A-Rod, though, was all smiles.
“I’m one of the luckiest human beings on the planet,” he said. “I respect everything [Brian] Cashman’s doing. I trust Hal Steinbrenner’s plan. I forever will be a Yankee fan. I hope I can stay here for the remainder of my contract. I’m completely committed . . . I think I can contribute. I think I can help out in the clubhouse. But if not, I have two beautiful daughters waiting for me in Miami.”