Alex Rodriguez to be released by Yankees, ending controversial career

January 21, 2017

Alex Rodriguez, one of the most talented and controversial figures in baseball, will play his final game for the Yankees on Friday

Alex Rodriguez, one of the most talented and controversial players in the history of baseball, will be released on Friday by the New York Yankees effectively ending his playing career.

He will take up an advisory role with the team after his final game on Friday night.

The New York Yankees slugger announced the news at a press conference on Sunday morning, bringing an end to a 22-season career in which he recorded 696 home runs (fourth all-time), 2,084 RBIs and a batting average of .295. He was a 14-time All Star, a three-time American League MVP and led the AL in home runs on five occasions. He won his sole World Series with the Yankees in 2009.

We all want to keep playing forever, said a tearful Rodriguez on Sunday. But it doesnt work that way.

Rodriguez also reflected on the game he is stepping away from. This is a tough day. I love this game and I love this team, he said. And today Im saying goodbye.

However, the 41-year-old has been in a slump this season, batting just .204 with nine home runs in 216 at-bats. The signs that Rodriguezs career was coming to an end have been clear since the end of last month. He has started only once in 14 games since 22 July, and has homered just twice since 3 June. He is owed $21m this season and was due to make $21m in 2017, the final season of a $275m, 10-year deal with the Yankees. It is believed the Yankees are contractually obliged to pay Rodriguez his full salary for both 2016 and 2017.

Many considered Rodriguezs deal, the biggest in baseball history when it was signed, an albatross round the neck of the Yankees who have been paying a huge salary to an ageing player.

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, said Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner in a statement. 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. Baseball runs through his blood.

Hes a tireless worker and an astute student of the game. Alex has already proven to be a willing and effective mentor to many players who have come through our clubhouse, and I am confident that this next phase of his baseball life will bring out the best in Alex and the next generation of Yankees.

But while Rodriguezs talents are undeniable his career will always be associated with performance enhancing drugs, something that will always raise questions about the legitimacy of his remarkable achievements. He was suspended for the entire 2014 season for his part in the Biogenesis scandal, in which MLB players were accused of involvement with performance enhancing drugs allegedly supplied by the now defunct South Florida anti-aging clinic.

No matter what happens, Im at peace with myself, Rodriguez said on Tuesday. I think I can contribute. I think I can help out in the clubhouse but if not, I have two beautiful daughters waiting for me in Miami.

Rodriguez returned last season, and enjoyed initial success before a late slump left him with a .250 average for the year with 33 home runs and 86 RBIs.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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