Alex Rodriguez says he's at peace, and he's probably telling the truth
Alex Rodriguez has been very bad for the New York Yankees this year -- so bad, the team has been forced to consider paying him more than $20 million to go away.
The 41-year-old says he's fine with that. And, considering his demeanor over the last two seasons, he's almost definitely telling the truth.
"Whatever they do, I'm at peace," Rodriguez said before Tuesday's game against the New York Mets. Here's the full quote:
I've had a long career. I've been through a lot. I'm happy to be a Yankee. I love New York. I think I have a lot to contribute still. But you have to be realistic.
I know the organization has a brighter future today than it did last week, and hopefully I'm part of the equation, but if I'm not, I can accept it very clearly. At-bats are going to come if they come. If they don't, they don't...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.
Diving deeper into these words, and accepting them as true, helps explain where Rodriguez is personally at this stage of his career, in stark contrast to as recently as 2013.
It was then that he was busted for performance enhancing drugs for a second time, unsuccessfully appealed a season-long suspension, and unsuccessfully tried to sue everyone in his path -- including his own union.
What came next was a year away from being a Yankee, a year away from being "A-Rod." This period also coincided with the ceremonious exit of Derek Jeter, the embodiment of everything Rodriguez strived to be in New York -- flawless, beloved, victorious -- but could never live up to.
Rodriguez returned for the 2015 season surprisingly content, perhaps finally cognizant of the reality he faced: A large portion of his former fans were about to hate him, and everyone who hated him before now felt even more strongly about it. And there wasn't much he could do to change it.
For the player that spent nearly an entire career desperate for admiration, this realization came perhaps a decade late. But once it finally dawned on him, he became somebody that baseball fans had so badly wanted him to be all along: himself.
A year of rest obviously had a lot to do with it, but the new mind frame surely helped contribute to a 33-homer, .842-OPS season at age 40 last year.
There's nothing left to hide, nothing left to lie about -- it's all on the table. It's part of why he was also comfortable enough to join Fox Sports' playoff coverage last October as an analyst (and a very good one).
It took until age 40, but last year, Alex Rodriguez finally got to experience life as Alex Rodriguez, and it coincided with success in the batter's box. In 2016, it hasn't. But at this point, that's not the most important thing to him.
It's why, despite sporting a .204 batting average while on the verge of losing his job, he can be an embarrassing dad on Instagram.
So when he says he's at peace with his career if the Yankees send him back to his South Florida home in the coming weeks? He's probably not lying. Because, finally, A-Rod has nothing to lie about.
- By John Dorn