Saturday, April 14, 2012
That $30 million seduction looked bad then — to blend immortality with a payday — and worse now for two reasons: 1) The Yankees are trying to get under the $189 million luxury-tax threshold beginning in 2014 to gain the financial benefits that are part of the new collective bargaining agreement. Those $6 million bonuses, if triggered, would count toward the payroll in the season they are earned. 2) The 2009 revelation that Rodriguez used steroids at least during his Ranger years devalued A-Rod, the TV Show, for the Yankees/YES while assuring Rodriguez that the accomplishment is as regretted as celebrated.
You got a preview of, at the least, how little joy and fanfare there will be should Rodriguez keep climbing on the homer list by the minimalist reaction yesterday. It was not long ago that becoming the fifth-leading homer hitter ever would have unleashed a standing ovation, wall-to-wall coverage and the further elevating of a reputation. Instead, when A-Rod took Ervin Santana deep to open the third inning, there was, well, not much.
The way I see it, the best way for this to work out is for A-Rod to hit all those bonuses this year and next year so they have no impact on 2014.
Rodriguez can earn the $6 million bonuses for hitting 660 HRs, 715 HRs, 755 HRs, then for tying the HR record (currently 756) and then breaking it. According to the CAIRO career projections I ran for Rodriguez his baseline career total for HRs was 699 and if he hit his 80% forecast it would get to 742.
Better than expected health could probably push him closer to that 755-757 range, but I’m not sure expecting a 36-42 year old Rodriguez to start demonstrating better health than the 32-35 version did is particularly realistic.
He now needs 31 HRs over the next two years to get to 661. CAIRO’s baseline had him at 35. If he can do that, then we have to wait another 50 HRs for him to trigger that 715 HR bonus. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it wouldn’t happen in 2014, and I’d probably bet against it happening in 2015. It may not be going out on the limb to say that it will NEVER happen.
Point being, this is probably pretty low on the Yankees’ list of worries in getting to the $189M payroll Valhalla.
The wording of the last two milestones is interesting. Rodriguez would have to average 21 HRs a year over the rest of his contract (plus yesterday’s) to wind up at 756. If Albert Pujols averages 52 over the same span, he’d end up at 757 HRs. Wouldn’t it be hilarious if Rodriguez tied Barry Bonds in the first game of an Angels series, passed him in the second and then watched Pujols hit three HRs to break his record in the third game? Technically, Rodriguez would have achieved his milestone. But it wouldn’t have been worth anything 24 hours later.
Actually, it wouldn’t be hilarious.
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