Alex Rodriguez apparently will not become Fish-Rod anytime soon.
Reports that the Marlins had set their sights on the former Yankees designated hitter were doused Monday when Rod riguez’s spokesman said the 41-year-old will not play for his hometown team or any other club this season.
“I want to put all this talk to rest about Alex playing for any team this season,’’ Ron Berkowitz emailed the media. “It’s not happening. Like he said Friday night, he is happy and he is going to take some time to relax and hang with his family and friends.”
Nothing was mentioned about a potential comeback in 2017. Rod riguez is fourth on the all-time list with 696 home runs and has spoken of 700 as a tantalizing number. The Marlins’ hitting coach is Barry Bonds, who is first with 762.
Although Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, who has residences in Manhattan and Southampton, reportedly was intrigued about exploring possibilities with Rodriguez, president of baseball operations Michael Hill told mlb.com that the team has not formally reached out to him. Loria did not return a phone call.
But Hill had mentioned Rod riguez as a possibility Sunday after slugger Giancarlo Stanton was placed on the disabled list with a left groin injury that could sideline him for the rest of the regular season. The Marlins, in a tight race with the Mets, Cardinals and Pirates for the second wild card, also lost first baseman Justin Bour to a sprained ankle.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi, who managed the Marlins in 2006, was not surprised by their initial interest in Rodriguez.
“I’m not shocked,’’ he said. “Alex is from that area. I think when you’re a general manager or manager, you’re going to consider every possibility. Especially when you’re dealing with some injuries to their first baseman. I don’t think they’re going to put him in rightfield. But rosters expand and you think about pinch hitters, you can think about a lot of things. I’m not surprised that the topic came up.”
Girardi was asked if the emotional send-off that Rodriguez received in his final game at Yankee Stadium convinced him to sit out the rest of this season.
“It’s possible that it did,’’ he said. “And maybe he wants to hold on to that. I don’t know. It’s hard for me to predict.
“I’m sure his [daughters] have something to do with this. School has started down there. I’m sure there’s a lot of factors in this. Maybe he wants to sit and wait a couple months to see how he feels and where he’s at mentally. It’s hard to say. But I know how much he loves the game, and I know how much he loves to compete. So like I said, nothing is going to surprise me.”
With no designated hitter in the National League, Rodriguez presumably would have been tried at first base, even though he played only two games there for the Yankees in 2015 and looked shaky, making an error.
Rodriguez was unconditionally released Saturday and officially became a free agent at 1 p.m. Monday. He played his final game as a Yankee Friday night and did not address numerous questions about plans to resume his career. He never used the word “retire.’’
Earlier Monday, general manager Brian Cashman said Rod riguez is free to walk away from his agreement to become a special adviser for the Yankees next season if he elects to sign with another team. Rodriguez has not signed the deal offered by Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner on Aug. 7, when it was announced that Rod riguez’s 12-season career with the team would be ending.
“He’s free to sign [the Yankees’ deal] if he wants,’’ Cashman said. “If he chooses to change his mind and keep playing, it’s certainly something he can do.”
The special adviser/instructor arrangement would pay Rod riguez a nominal amount beyond what he already is owed. It would take effect near spring training 2017 and last through Dec. 31 next year.
According to The Associated Press, the Yankees will pay Rod riguez $27,103,825, the remaining amount from his 10-year, $275-million contract. He is due $7,103,825 for the rest of this season and $20 million next year.
With David Lennon