You knew this was going to happen. Just few after the Yankees unconditionally released Alex Rodriguez, the Miami Marlins rumors are flying.
First John Heyman reported in Today’s Knuckleball that Marlins’ owner Jeffrey Loria has “keen interest” in the Yankees slugger.
However, there is a caveat. “While Loria is of course involved in baseball operations, it is still less than a certainty A-Rod will play for his hometown team,” Heyman wrote.
“Loria is said to have let manager Don Mattingly and the baseball people ‘do their thing’ this season (exhibit A was Ichiro playing and getting his 3,000th hit in Colorado rather than waiting one day to do it on a home stand), and it remains uncertain how likely a Marlins/A-Rod marriage is.”
Then ex-general manager Jim Bowden said that A-Rod-Miami marriage is “going to happen.”
.@JimBowden_ESPN “It doesn’t matter what I think, A-Rod WILL be a Miami Marlin after he clears waivers” – https://t.co/I7Io03jiBZ
— MLB Network Radio (@MLBNetworkRadio) August 15, 2016
So, maybe there is some fire to these smoke signals, and more importantly, the Marlins do have a roof on their park, so you don’t have to worry about the wraith of the heavens.
But understand, before you see Rodriguez playing in from of that green screen background, there are a few things to consider.
A-Rod will have to play the field, something he hasn’t done regularly since 2013. He DHed the last two seasons and was suspended in ’14. He also would be playing first base for the Marlins, a position he doesn’t have too much experience. Last season, it was a disaster, but he took ground balls there this year.
Secondly, bringing A-Rod in means there will be a sideshow, wherever he goes. Yes, the Marlins could always use a few more fans in the stands and the publicity, but with the team in the pennant race, do they need the distraction?
Finally and more importantly, can A-Rod hit? He batted only .200 with the Yankees this season and his bat speed looked rather slow. So even if you can get around everything else, how much help would A-Rod be to the Marlins?
Both first baseman Justin Bour and outfielder Giancarlo Stanton are on the disabled list. Bour will probably be back in September, but Stanton is out for the regular season. The Marlins need another bat. They are also look at Carlos Gomez, who was designated for assignment by the Houston Astros last week, but he won’t be available for another week. A-Rod cleared waivers today, so he can be signed and put into the lineup at any time.
You knew this was going to happen. A-Rod wasn’t going to go away quietly. He is just four homers away from 700 and he probably thinks he can get that goal with regular at-bats. Even if no one signs him, the rumors will be out there for the rest of the season.
Right now, though, they are firmly on Miami, who is just a half game out of the second Wild Card.
Could A-Rod put them over the top?