What started off as a friendly conversation between old buddies Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and New York Yankees president Randy Levine may turn into at least a decently serious discussion. The topic? The always controversial Alex Rodriguez. This is from a report by Keith Olbermann.
Since then, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has denied internal discussions on this, but the trade may remain a serious possibility in the offseason. After all, Loria said the following about Rodriguez after all.
That comment may very well start off as a joke, but you cannot underestimate a few things from the parties involved. For one thing, never underestimate the Marlins and their willingness to find a quick fix for their problems rather than building more purposefully towards the future. Alex Rodriguez would provide an infusion of talent into the third base position, albeit a much smaller one than is expected given his name. For the next few years as least, Rodriguez's presence would solve the Marlins' immediate needs at third base, but depending on the price, that may not matter thanks to his extremely overpriced final two or three years.
Also, never underestimate the desire of the Yankees to be rid of Rodriguez's contract. After all, the Yankees owe a whopping $114 million over the next five seasons to Rodriguez as a part of his ten-year, $275 million extension signed in 2008. It was already a given that his contract was doomed to be a massive albatross, but given Rodriguez's disappointing season at the plate and his most recent struggles at the plate during the playoffs, this concern may be more evident. The Yankees may be ready to finally dump parts of that contract, and the Marlins, who are likely desperate for potentially positive publicity after a terrible 2012, may be ready to work with them.
Just how much would the Yankees have to pay to make Rodriguez a positive asset? Consider what I mentioned earlier today on the Conor Dorney piece on low-cost options for the Fish this offseason.
It has been said that the Marlins may be able to trade Heath Bell in a deal to acquire Rodriguez, but Bell at this point is a negative asset; the Yankees would pay more salary if the Marlins kept Bell and not traded him in this deal. With the team short on actual trade assets, the best the Fish could possibly do is acquire Rodriguez for half of his remaining salary and send Bell's remaining $18 million along the way. Such a deal would be about even if you assume Bell is a replacement-level player at this stage, and while that is not fair, I certainly would not be surprised if that is at what the market is currently valuing him.
Ultimately, I do not believe the Marlins and Yankees will make this trade work. The money is an extremely touchy situation, with the Yankees having to pay an enormous, hefty sum to merely even out Rodriguez as an asset. However, it was mentioned that the Marlins are likely the only team for which Rodriguez will waive his no-trade clause, so it remains a possibility. Fish Stripes will keep an eye on the ongoing situation as it develops.