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Alex Rodriguez suspension: The Miami Marlins connection

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Alex Rodriguez will be suspended for the 2014 season, and it is very likely that he has played his last game for the New York Yankees. Could the Marlins take a chance on him in 2015?

Could Alex Rodriguez ever be standing in Marlins Park with a Marlins uniform on?
Could Alex Rodriguez ever be standing in Marlins Park with a Marlins uniform on?
Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

The Miami Marlins are an unconventional, confusing team capable at times of baffling moves that go against baseball grain and better public relations judgment.

But even the Miami Marlins would not touch someone like Alex Rodriguez.

Laura Depta of Rant Sports (H/T our friends at Marlin Maniac) points out the argument that the Marlins are the only logical location left for the downtrodden Rodriguez, who was recently suspended for the entirety of the 2014 season by an independent aribitrator as a part of his involvement with the Biogenesis PED scandal. This is obviously not the first time Rodriguez has been hit for PEDs, and his stock as a player and from a public relations standpoint is at a critical low as a result of all of his problems.

So why does Depta think that Miami is the place to be for A-Rod?

The only logical destination for a player as beaten down as A-Rod is his hometown of Miami. A-Rod grew up in Miami, committed to playing at the University of Miami before opting for the MLB Draft instead, and he currently still has a home there.

During the pre-Biogenesis days in October of 2012, reports surfaced of a light-hearted conversation between Yankees president Randy Levine and Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria. The subject matter supposedly involved a possible trade for A-Rod. Of course, nothing ever materialized and both sides passed the conversation off as a joke between friends.

Now, circumstances have changed. For a team that desperately needs a boost in attendance, A-Rod could have a positive impact there despite his wrecked public image. The Marlins have a pretty wrecked image themselves after Loria used public funds for a new ballpark and then immediately turned around and gutted his team in a fire sale.

The old tale about Randy Lavine and Jeffrey Loria discussing Rodriguez was funny at the time because the Marlins were floundering after an unexpectedly poor 2012 performance and Rodriguez's massive contract was still a drain on the Yankees' pocketbooks. At the time, Rodriguez was playing passably, not close to reaching the value of his deal but still acceptably for a Major Leaguer sustaining a regular job.

But as Depta mentions, the circumstances have indeed changed, primarily on the side of Rodriguez. He was busted for another drug-related incident, and on the field he continued to show his age. He will be 40 years old in 2015 with a full year of rust under his belt thanks to his year-long suspension. There is no telling just how little baseball could possibly be left in the tank for Rodriguez.

And that does not even consider the situation for the Marlins. A full year removed from meaningful play and coming off multiple hip injuries in the past, it is likely Rodriguez would be stuck playing first base or, more realistically, being a designated hitter for a team. Miami would have very little need for either position for obvious reasons. At third base, the Marlins would want top prospect Colin Moran getting ready for the position by the middle of that season, meaning Rodriguez's current position is out of the question as well.

Sure, Miami would have to give up almost nothing to take Rodriguez off of the Yankees' hands, and almost all of his salary would likely be paid, but why bother with the headache? There is no guarantee that he could perform, and there is not much in the way of a spot for him. And as for the argument of his status as a draw for the Miami fan base to visit Marlins Park, I give you this excerpt by FanGraphs's Tony Blengino (bolded for my emphasis):

He’s a paradoxical character who has been a consistent elite performer, but seems to be loved by no fan base, and has been derided for his postseason output though the numbers aren’t much different from those of Reggie "Mr. October" Jackson orDerek Jeter. He just might be the most universally hated superstar in US sports history. Let’s take a step back from all of it, however, and with as a critical and unbiased an eye as possible, assess his career and see where it fits within the history of the game.

Rodriguez's multiple drug suspensions and constantly ridiculed character flaws have made him a pariah. It almost became difficult to cheer for the guy, what with his occasional on-field antics and the constant negative backlash over everything he did, let alone the steroids allegations and suspensions. Why would any south Floridian come to Marlins Park to watch an aging, futile Rodriguez play baseball at one thousandth of what he once was at his peak? If fans are not going out to watch Jose Fernandez or Giancarlo Stanton, they are not going to watch a has-been who was accused of cheating multiple times in the past limp onto the field as a part-timer.

Miami could be desperate for attention and to get fans in the seats. But acquiring Rodriguez, even for nothing, is more risk than reward. At this stage, he is essentially unemployable, with no more major career milestones likely to be reached and too much baggage to be overlooked. He would be a media distraction to a team that already causes its own media distractions. The Marlins, like the rest of Major League Baseball, would probably pass on Alex Rodriguez, and his career may more ignominiously than Barry Bonds or other accused steroids users.