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Could A-Rod's Career Be Over?

The Yankees' Alex Rodriguez has five years remaining on his Yankees contract. One report hints that under certain conditions, he might never play again.


The Alex Rodriguez saga could take another interesting turn, says the New York Daily News:

According to numerous baseball sources, the hip surgery Rodriguez is now recovering from will likely derail his playing career, leaving him in such a diminished role that he may consider a settlement or an outright retirement. He still has five years and $114 million left on his contract.  

"I don't know why he would want to go through the pain of rehabbing and trying to play up to the caliber of player he was, and come back to a game where nobody wants him," said a baseball official.  "If he did that, he'd be a part-time player and presumably unable to achieve any of the incentive clauses in the contract or even the milestones."

The newspaper story says that two possible scenarios could emerge, as A-Rod rehabs from his hip surgery:

(1) A-Rod being forced to retire because of the injury, enabling the Yankees to collect 85% of the insurance on the contract, which would leave him with a paid-up deal that comes off the Yankee books and subsequently lessens their luxury-tax burden.  

The Orioles faced a similar situation in 2OOO when two years into a five-year, $65 million contract, slugger Albert Belle was forced to leave the game at 34 with a degenerative hip condition.  

(2) Rodriguez completes the rehab but continues to play in a diminished role, is unhappy with his level of play and decides to voluntarily retire. In that case, the Yankees would engage him in settlement talks.

Either is certainly possible; even before the hip injury in 2012, A-Rod was clearly declining over the two previous years. His last truly dominant season was 2008 and his last good year (that resulted in him helping to lead the Yankees to their last World Series title) was 2009. He's been brittle and injured; he hasn't played in 150 or more games since 2007.

Craig Calcaterra sounds this warning, though:

So maybe the Yankees are hinting they want those "settlement talks", or to have a doctor declare A-Rod unable to continue to play. It's really too bad. When A-Rod was in the first few years of his career, it seemed possible he'd smash all kinds of records. It now seems possible, or even likely, that he won't get to any of the major records, not even make it to 3,000 hits (he's 99 short), and could retire in semi-disgrace.