Get ready for the two-year long retirement tour. At least that is what New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez is hoping for. The slugger announced today that he will be retiring following the 2017 season.
The Yankees star has been embattled in controversy over the last several seasons all related around his use of steroids and other performance enhancing drugs (PEDs). This led to a nearly yearlong suspension that ended prior to the 2015 season. Most thought he was washed up prior to his return, but a solid season last year led many to believe that he still has some gas left in the tank. He finished with 33 homeruns and was not the distraction to the team that many thought he would be. This led many of his Yankees teammates to be more welcoming to the aging star.
The timing of his retirement coincides with the end of the 10 year, $275 million contract he signed with New York. This contract he signed back in 2008, when Rodriguez was the toast of the league. He was the game’s biggest star and looked to be a real threat to claim the homerun crown from Barry Bonds, the current all-time home run leader.
Many wanted to see Rodriguez claim the record, because most within the baseball community agree that Bonds used steroids to increase his power, aiding in him passing Hank Aaron as the all-time homerun king. When the revelations that Rodriguez had also been caught using PEDs, not once but twice, surfaced, it has left many of the purists in the game to feel like the game’s most important records are tarnished.
Currently, the Yankees star has 687 career homeruns, making it highly unlikely that he could capture the record held by Bonds, who has 762. If Rodriguez matched last year’s total in each of the next two seasons he would finish with 753, leaving him third all-time.
At one point, Alex Rodriguez was the most admired person in the game. The young man from south Florida became a star as a teen in Seattle playing alongside Hall of Famer Ken Griffey, Jr. He was at the top of the game, but has fallen mightily. A player with his credentials would be widely celebrated on such a retirement tour, but it is likely that very few will even give him regards as he reaches the end.
One must also wonder if he is that close when 2017 ends if he will really decide to hang it up. Rodriguez claims it will be his last, but he has made a lot of claims before that were not true.
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