ESPN - Alex Rodriguez plans to retire after his contract with the New York Yankees ends following the 2017 season, the designated hitter told ESPN on Wednesday.
"I won't play after next year," Rodriguez said. "I've really enjoyed my time. For me, it is time for me to go home and be Dad."
Rodriguez's retirement will end what has been a legendary career full of controversy. The veteran slugger will turn 41 on July 27, and he is signed through next season -- the final year of a 10-year, $275 million contract.
This is the right move for A-Rod. Entering next season both him and the team know it will be his final year. While the Yankees probably weren't going to re-sign him anyway they can now plan ahead from a team building perspective, just like how the Red Sox know they can move Hanley Ramirez to DH next year after David Ortiz retires.
Once a lightning rod for drama Alex has done a much better job of staying out of it the past two years. Some will argue that this announcement is for the dreaded retirement tour but it actually shows his continued maturity. Most would've guessed that Alex was the type to drag out this process and think he could play at an elite level beyond 2017. But even though he exceeded everyone's expectations last year he knows he's at the end of the road. By the time his contract expires after 2017 he will be 42.
Similar to Barry Bonds, A-Rod's career is without a doubt going to diminished by the fact that he used steroids. Yes at one point in time Alex was the biggest sleazeball in professional sports but for those that can look at the steroid era as just an era A-Rod is one of the twenty best players baseball has ever seen. He is currently fourth on the all time home run list, just 13 shy of 700:
After hitting 33 homers in 2015 Alex should comfortably reach 700 this season if he stays healthy. While Bonds' all time mark of 762 might seem out of reach (A-Rod would need 75 over the next two years) he is just 27 away from tying Babe Ruth, which is a feat that could happen as early as this season.
It's crazy to think that at this time last year people legit wanted him to just go away. Even Yankee fans. To his credit A-Rod ignored them all and became the best hitter on an 87 win playoff team. It's been an interesting career to say the least. Whether it will be for better or worse it's safe to say baseball won't be the same without Alex Rodriguez.