The Yankees' options with the Alex Rodriguez contract

Al Messerschmidt

The Yankees want to get out of the Alex Rodriguez contract. Imagine that. Here are the three options they have.

I'll bet DeLoreans were just the coolest cars back in the day.

Delorean-ev-main_medium

I mean, hot damn. Driving around in a car like that must have made you feel like … well, like you were from the future, or something. No matter where you pulled up -- whether it was at the re-opening of Studio 54, or in front of a Dunkin' Donuts -- all eyes would have been on you. You would have been the coolest. That's the kind of car that can get you a bushel of phone numbers, if you know what I mean.

But maybe you were leasing it. And because it was the coolest car in the world, you couldn't say no when the dealership gave you a take-it-or-leave-it option to extend the lease for 10 years. Payments only $1,900 a month, and you kind of had unlimited funds, so why not?

Then the car started breaking down. Turns out that DeLoreans weren't built to last. And even then, it wasn't as cool as it used to be. It was suddenly and decidedly uncool. Then you had some wild-eyed scientist telling you that you needed to fill it with garbage it keep it running … boy, oh boy, would you have started to regret re-upping that lease.

When you went down to the dealership to get out of the lease you would have been politely rebuffed. Then you would have been impolitely rebuffed. Then the cops would have been called. You weren't going to get out of that lease.

In this analogy, Alex Rodriguez is the DeLorean. I'm not sure if that makes Derek Jeter the Michael J. Fox of baseball, but that's not important. The Yankees thought they were making a sound deal when they locked on to Alex Rodriguez for a decade. They thought it would be a decade of shattered records and plentiful championships. Instead, they got baseball's worst contract.

There are rumblings, though, that the Yankees are looking for a way -- any way -- to get out of the contract. Of course they are. Here are their options:

Option #1: Deal with it

There aren't any provisos in any contract in baseball that allow a team to get out of it because the player faces a performance-enhancing-drug suspension. That is, unless the player is busted for a third time. So even if A-Rod is suspended again, unless the Yankees hire someone to blow-dart some anabolic steroids into his neck, there are 100 million reasons for him not to touch anything stronger than Tang for the rest of his career.

The Yankees would like to get out of the contract because of the PEDs? I'm sure they would. The Angels paid Gary Matthews, Jr. about $50 million on a contract that hadn't even started yet when he was linked to HGH. If they couldn't get out of that, the Yankees aren't getting out of the A-Rod deal.

Option #2: Deal with it

The Daily News is reporting that A-Rod's career with the Yankees is unlikely to continue. Oh! Let's see why:

According to numerous baseball sources, the hip surgery Rodriguez is now recovering from will likely derail his playing career, leaving him in such a diminished role that he may consider a settlement or an outright retirement. He still has five years and $114 million left on his contract.

A settlement! Sounds intriguing.

Yankees: What we're looking for, here, is a way to pay your client less money over the next five years.

Dan Lozano: Look, I'm really busy. Can't I just sign something and read it later? It's trivia night at McGillicuddy's.

Yankees: Sure, sure.

I'm sure that's exactly what will happen. Settlement is code for "paying the player less than what he is owed," and that doesn't really happen in baseball. So it's probably not going to happen this time.

Option #3: Deal with it

The other implied option for the Yankees is for Alex Rodriguez to give up on his rehabilitation. The minor detail would be that Rodriguez would walk away from $114 million, but maybe the Yankees are planning to ask really, really nicely. And as long as Rodriguez is diligently rehabbing and making an effort to return to the field, the Yankees can't stop him.

If he has to miss this year because of injury, the Yankees will get insurance money on his contract. If he plays, the Yankees will have to pay him. But there's no way the Yankees can keep him off the roster if he's physically capable of playing. Not only would it be "insurance fraud", but the union wouldn't allow it. The union would freak out if the subject were even broached.

So if I have to pick the most likely option, I'll go with the one that has the Yankees dealing with it. I'm sure they do want Rodriguez to retire or agree to a settlement, and I'm sure they would love for MLB and the MLBPA to agree that it's unfair for him to collect money on his contract after a second steroids scandal.

But it's not up to the Yankees. Which means, after all the talk and sources and whispers and chatter about how to get out of Alex Rodriguez's contract, they're going to have to deal with it.

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