Tuesday, October 28, 2014
By this time tomorrow, Alex Rodriguez could be back in the fold, and it's time for the Yankees to have him turn his head and cough
Posted by el duque at 7:36 AM
As soon as the 2014 season ends, the hair-challenged lords of the game will declare an official "cessation of hostilities" in their war on A-Rod, who served as baseball's former ISIS/Ebola, the all-purpose symbol of steroids and performance enhancing drugs. At the stroke of midnight, Bud Selig might stand before a sign that says "Mission Accomplished," as the long drought for Alex Rodriguez finally ends.
But his long days are just beginning.
Here's a suggestion. As soon as 2014 is in the books, before the champagne has dried on the winning owner's tush, Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi should summon A-Rod to George Steinbrenner Field in Tampa and watch their returning $25 million meat-wagon run the bases.
It's time to know what we've got.
Last winter, uncertainties hamstrung Cashman's team-building strategies. Through mid-December, the Yankees still didn't know:
a) If A-Rod's suspension would be upheld,
b) If Jeter and Teixeira could return,
c) If Masahiro Tanaka was really coming to America,
d) If Hiroki Kuroda would come back.
That's a lot of gray area. As a result, Jhonny Peralta - in retrospect, probably the best 3B free agent the Yankees could have signed - was gone, before Cashman knew the Yankees had a hole in their infield. To be fair, Cashman never had a chance.
This year, the Yankees face many uncertainties. (I won't start listing them, because it will be Thanksgiving before I'm done.) But here's one Cashman can wipe off the board: What's A-Rod's physical, mental and psychic shape, returning from Pariah-hood?
Supposedly, they've talked with guys who worked out with A-Rod. It's time to see for themselves. It's time for a soul-to-soul sit-down, for a night of drinking cheap wine, of smoking the good ganja and listening to Pink Floyd albums, maybe pass-out on the couch with dead soldiers and unjacketed Coltrane albums strewn across the floor. It's time to yell at the moon and throw tomatoes at passing cars. Next morning, we're talking about stool samples, a turn-your-head-and-cough session with the Yankee surgeon general, and then some hitting and fielding - a full day of it.
It's time for the Yankees to have one leg up on the rest of baseball: They need to know if Alex Rodriguez can deliver. For a day or two, it's time to forget scouting the latest talent from Cuba or Japan. It's time to scout the $25 million enigma.