Press Conference: Is Alex Rodriguez Retiring?

Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees

Yankee third baseman Alex Rodriguez.

Alex Rodriguez and the New York Yankees called a surprise press conference for Sunday morning to announce Rodriguez’ retirement.

Rodriguez will play his last game Friday and then stay on as an adviser and receive the full salary in his contract, said USA Today.

Since Marx Teixeira, the Yankees’  first baseman, announced his retirement, speculation has grown that Rodriguez could – or should – be next. The New York Daily News says the Yankees might be announcing Rodriguez’ release or he might be announcing his own retirement, although what would happen to the final year of his contract is unclear (he had $24 million left as of Aug. 6).

Andrew Marchand, a senior writer for ESPN, tweeted: “There has been much speculation that A-Rod could be released since the team has decided to barely play him this year.”

USA Today says the press conference should provide clarity about Rodriguez’ Yankees’ future, whether he’s “retained, released” or otherwise parts “ways with the club.”

A few days ago, with rumors already swirling that he might be released, Rodriguez said he was “at peace” with whatever the team decided. USA Today noted that letting Rodriguez go and eating the last year of his contract might be a “lot of money to swallow” for the team. The newspaper said Rodriguez’ comment that he’s a “teacher at heart” might indicate a desire to coach.

USA Today says that Rodriguez doesn’t fit in with the team’s “committing further to a youth movement with the trades of outfielder Carlos Beltran and reliever Andrew Miller at the trade deadline.” Fox Sports notes the Yankees “made a clear decision before the MLB Trade Deadline to restock their organization by trading their most valuable assets” and called Rodriguez “a bench player making $21 million a year.”

The Daily News says The Yankees will hold the press conference together with Rodriguez on Sunday morning. The conference will be at the Stadium, and it was announced in a team press release, which said that GM Brian Cashman and manager Joe Girardi will be available speak to the media, the New York newspaper said. The New York Post dubbed the press conference “ominous.”

The press conference is scheduled for 11 a.m.

alex rodriguez, yankees, mariners, rangers, 2,000th RBI

Alex Rodriguez (Getty)

The news comes the same day a New Jersey newspaper reported that Yankees’ management might be done with Rodriguez. The story quotes a report from Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball, who wrote of the Yankees: “…All eyes are on Alex Rodriguez…Word is, at least some baseball people are ready to move on. But of course, ultimately, it will be Hal Steinbrenner’s call whether to eat the $20-million plus remaining on the contract of the highest-paid player ever.”

New noted that Rodriguez, who was AL MVP three times, is hitting .204 this season and has only had seven at-bats since July 23, a far cry from his peak performance years. The New York Post said Rodriguez has “started one game since July 22, when he went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts” and pointed out he gets a $6 million bonus if he reaches Babe Ruth’s 714 home run record (he has 696 homers now).

In March, Rodriguez told ESPN that he would retire after the 2017 season. That’s when his contract ends. ESPN quoted him then as saying: “I won’t play after next year. I’ve really enjoyed my time. For me, it is time for me to go home and be Dad.”

ESPN noted that Rodriguez’ career has been filled with controversy; he was suspended in 2014 for using performance-enhancing drugs, ESPN said. He’s also 41 and is signed through next season, according to ESPN, the “final year of a 10-year, $275 million contract.”

On Aug. 5, a Forbes contributor pointed out there are some differences between Teixeira and Rodriguez.  Teixeira’s retirement was effective when his $180 million deal expires at the end of the 2016 season, whereas Rodriguez “has one year and $20 million left on the 10-year, $275 million deal he inked before the 2008 campaign,” Forbes said. He’s also five years older than Teixeira.

On Twitter, speculation was rampant about the meaning of the press conference: