Alex Rodriguez announced on Sunday that he plays his last game in pinstripes on Friday.
The decision came after the Yankees informed their designated hitter that the team intended to release him. The Yankees owe Rodriguez $27 million over a contract that expires after next season. The release agreement contains no buyout, so the player who made more money on the diamond than any other in history continues to get paid off the diamond.
“After spending several days discussing this plan with Alex, I am pleased that he will remain a part of our organization moving forward and transition into a role in which I know he can flourish,” Yankees co-owner Hal Steinbrenner noted. “We have an exciting group of talented young players at every level of our system. Our job as an organization is to utilize every resource possible to allow them to reach their potential, and I expect Alex to directly contribute to their growth and success.”
The Yankees hope to use Rodriguez as a special instructor for their farm system and during spring training. His release from the Yankees makes him free to sign as a player with any team.
A-Rod played sparingly since the All-Star break. The 41-year-old bats just .204 with nine home runs this season.
But during his 22-season career with the Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers, and New York Yankees, Rodriguez blasted 696 home runs, notched 3,114 hits, and knocked in 2,084 runners. He finishes his career with a .295 batting average. Though his stats rank among the best in MLB history, A-Rod’s involvement with performance-enhancing drugs, mixed reputation among teammates and competitors, and single World Series ring despite playing for more than a decade on a team accustomed to players sporting hardware on multiple fingers combine as a drag on his legacy.
But he finishes his career in the top ten in home runs, RBI, and runs, and, despite finishing his career as a DH, twice collected a Gold Glove at one of the most challenging positions in baseball.
“We all want to keep playing forever,” Rodriguez told the press Sunday morning. “But it doesn’t work that way.”