|Alex Rodriguez's repeated ALCS benchings have spurred talk that he could be traded this offseason. (AP)|
The Dodgers and Marlins, the two most obvious candidates to become Alex Rodriguez's next landing spot, thus far seem far less than anxious to acquire A-Rod.
A person familiar with the Dodgers' plans answered concisely about their possible A-Rod interest. "No," that person said flatly.
A person familiar with the Marlins' thinking was a bit more expansive, but no more positive. In response to the suggestion they could be the team for A-Rod, that person characterized the insinuation this way: "BS. Not happening."
With A-Rod being benched during a disastrous postseason, the Yankees are expected to at least gauge the market for an A-Rod trade. There's always the possibility that their potential willingness to pay part of the $114 million to go over five years on A-Rod's contract (plus another possible $30 million in home-run milestone money) could entice one of the two obvious teams or someone else, but suffice it to say that an early canvass of the market doesn't suggest either the Dodgers or Marlins are anxious to take A-Rod.
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The public discussion of a potential A-Rod deal ramped up after Keith Olbermann reported there have been talks between the Yankees and marlins, with Olbermann suggesting the Yankees have expressed a willingness to pay "all or almost all" of A-Rod's contract in a deal with
People familiar with the talk between the teams insist, though, that it has been limited to one lighthearted bit of banter between Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and Yankees president Randy Levine.
According to someone familiar with that 30-second conversation, it occurred when the Yankees helped open gorgeous new Marlins Park in early April and went something like this:
Loria: "Alex is Mr. Miami. Maybe he should play for us."
Levine: "You can have him."
According to people familiar with that confab, it was nothing more than a joke that has yet to be revisited.
The Yankees could try to get it going again after a postseason in which Rodriguez has gone 3 for 23, been benched, and according to the New York Post, tried to pick up two women in the stands after being lifted for a pinch hitter during Game 1.
But even if there was something more to Loria's April joke, the Marlins surely have noticed Rodriguez's struggles at 37. They may have a slightly warmer feeling at the moment toward A-Rod, but there is zero evidence the Marlins are eager to solve their third-base issue by going for Rodriguez the winter after their foray into the big-name free-agent market didn't work as they had hoped.
The Marlins' attendance was disappointing, and the hometown product could potentially provide a small initial boost, but ultimately fans only come to see winners in South Florida, and an A-Rod -- who has dealt with hip and other injuries of age -- ultimately isn't a good fit in a league without a DH.
That would make the Dodgers an unlikely fit as well. Los Angeles obviously has money to spend, and a willingness to spend it and take chances to win, but the focus this winter is expected to be on pitching after they acquired several positional stars during the season, including a younger A-Rod type in Hanley Ramirez, who they got from the Marlins. Beyond that, their late-season third baseman, the youthful Luis Cruz, posted a .431 slugging percentage, which as Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) pointed out, was slightly higher than A-Rod's .430.