The New York Yankees and Alex Rodriguez have been involved in a rocky relationship for well over a decade now. Like all relationships, there have been plenty of ups and downs. Some good times and some bad times. Some moments of joy and happiness and some moments of tears and bitterness. For better or worse, the two are still likely to be together for a few more years. That means that it is time for both sides to suck it up and find a way to put the past behind them. The Yankees have to put their feud with A-Rod behind them and try to move on for the sake of everyone involved. Unfortunately, as with so many relationships, the main issue right now is over money. A great start to making some peace would be for New York to recognize that Rodriguez hitting home run No. 660 should count as a contractual “milestone,” meaning the team would be obligated to pay the tainted slugger quite a handsome bonus.
Homer No. 660 will tie Willie Mays on the all-time list, meaning he will soon pass the former great to move in to No. 4 in MLB lore. It would also mean that the Yankees would have to pay him for reaching another milestone. The problem here is that the Yankees do not see it that way.
Barry Petchesky of Deadspin says that if the Yankees find a way to avoid using the word “milestone,” that they “figure they can legally bury their heads in the sand.
“When the Yankees re-signed Rodriguez in 2007, they included a separate marketing contract that included “milestone bonuses,” including payouts of $6 million for each player he passed on the home run list,” writes Petchesky. “But the Yankees are reportedly willing to go to arbitration, where they will argue that the contract stipulates that if they don’t call it a “milestone”—because they can’t market it—they don’t have to pay.”
Contractually speaking, the Yankees do appear to have the word of the law in their favor. When they re-signed Rodriguez to the richest contract in MLB history back in 2007, they had it written that it was up to the team to decide which accomplishments were to be considered “milestones.” Due to his suspension over the alleged use of performance enhancing drugs, the Yankees feel as if the records are tainted. This could lead to a rare case of mid-season arbitration.
Needless to say, that will not be a good thing for Rodriguez and his teammates to have to deal with during the grueling course of a season that currently finds the Yankees tied for first place.
Perhaps, the two sides can reach some sort of agreement. Perhaps, although it is highly unlikely. The Yankees are stubborn. So is Rodriguez. In the best interests of the entire team, it would be nice to be able to finally put some of the bad blood aside while the Yankees fight to get back to the postseason. Unfortunately, it does not appear as if either side will budge, meaning that what is already viewed as a rocky relationship is probably going to get a whole lot worse over the coming days, weeks, months and even years.