|Will another team want A-Rod, 37, on its roster after he was benched in the Yankees' ALCS loss? (US Presswire)|
Alex Rodriguez is the punch line to a joke still waiting to be told. We don't know the comedian yet, but he's out there. Does he own the Marlins? Maybe. Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria could be the one to tell this hoot:
Next season our third baseman will be ...
Hahahahaha. Hilarious! I'm giggling just thinking about it. Some franchise out there -- could be the Marlins, could be the Angels or Dodgers or White Sox ... could even be the Yankees -- will have Alex Rodriguez on its roster next season. People in other cities will laugh, because it's funny.
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A-Rod has become a parody, his comedic stylings so exaggerated that you almost can't believe it anymore. He didn't really pose for a picture by kissing a mirror, did he? Date Madonna and dabble in her pseudo-intellectual gobbledygook, Kabbalah? Throw a baseball to a beautiful stranger during the ALCS? Take steroids? Blame it on a cousin? Swipe at a fielder's glove on his way to first base? Eat popcorn out of a starlet's hands? Opt out of his contract during a World Series game? Get pinch-hit for in the ninth inning of a divisional playoff game, then benched for two straight ALCS games? Date a WWE diva?
Some of that stuff is old, some of it new, but the accumulation has turned A-Rod into a joke -- and not the kind people enjoy. He's the joke that makes your eyes roll, like one that starts, "Knock, knock?" Nobody wants to hear it.
Same with Alex Rodriguez. He's a bad joke. Nobody wants to hear it, see it, root for it, tolerate it.
And yet some owner will. Someone will have him on roster next season, even if he's worth 25 cents on the dollar of a contract that guarantees him $114 million over the next five years.
Baseball teams are usually the last to know. The Dodgers, White Sox and Rays thought Manny Ramirez would be worth the hassle. The Astros, Orioles, Padres and Giants kept giving chances to Miguel Tejada.
Someone will take Alex Rodriguez, even if there's nothing left to take. His health is in decline, possibly the steroid abuse taking its toll, possibly from sheer age (he turned 37 in July) and games played (2,524, 49th all time). He has made trips to the disabled list in each of the last five seasons, averaging just 124 games a year.
His production is in decline, with his slugging percentage and OPS going down every year since 2007.
His popularity is in decline. After being voted an All-Star starter 10 times, he hasn't been a fan's choice since 2008. This year he finished third in the AL voting at third base, but so far out of it that he was closer to ninth place than second.
Add it up, and baseball could be in for the most joyless record pursuit since Barry Bonds chased down Hank Aaron. With 647 home runs, A-Rod is 13 from Willie Mays in fourth place at 660. After that, Rodriguez would be bearing down on baseball immortality -- Babe Ruth (714) and Hank Aaron (755) -- and then the sneering, cheating, loathsome Bonds (762).
Assuming someone gives Rodriguez the chance.
And someone will. Doesn't matter that Rodriguez is paid too much for declining results on the field and increasing buffoonery off it. He has a name, and baseball owners love a name. They've known his name since he was a kid in Miami, where he was the No. 1 overall draft pick out of high school in 1993. And Miami is where some think he'll end his career, with the Marlins.
For Rodriguez to play next season for the Marlins -- or anyone else but the Yankees -- he would have to approve the deal because of the no-trade clause in his contract, a clause he earned when he was the best player in baseball. Years have passed, and those days are gone. A-Rod isn't the best player in baseball. He's not even the best third baseman on the Yankees. He's not a sinister character like Barry Bonds, but in his own way he's as unpopular.
He's more A-Fraud than A-Rod, but those are old nicknames. This guy needs a new one, and I've got it: Alex Rodriguez is Bozo, the Toxic Clown.
And everybody hates clowns.