What Price for A-Rod?

Our St. Louis-based Cubs fan staffer Pete Khazen wonders aloud what it would take in trade to put two-time American League Most Valuable Player and ten-time AL All-Star Alex Rodriguez into the Birds on the Bat.

Let me just tell you how much I love my Sirius satellite radio. Sure, they don't have the big contract with Major League Baseball to broadcast all the games, but they've got endless sports coverage, including a ton of sports talk radio. Listening to discussions throughout the day can really get that hamster in my head reeling. One of the biggest subjects of late has been none other than Alex Rodriguez and whether he'll stay with the New York Yankees this season as the trade deadline looms


Let's get right down to it. We apparently live in an era loaded with professional athletes who make news headlines for the use of illegal and performance enhancing drugs, making ignorant comments, abusing their spouses, and even committing murder. 


A-Rod is about the most politically correct spoken athlete in baseball, almost to a fault. He seems to be a man who respects both men and women both in his words and through his actions. He hasn't been wrapped up in off-field felonious activity. And though you never can tell these days, he isn't one of the usual suspects when it comes to illegal or performance enhancing drugs.


So just who is A-Rod?


Well, the superstar turns the young age of 31 today. A-Rod has won Gold Gloves (twice – 2002 and 2003). He's been the league's Most Valuable Player (twice – 2003 and 2005). He's been part of 10 All-Star games. Considering his age, A-Rod has clobbered a ridiculous 451 home runs, driven in 1299 runs, and has posted a career .305 batting average. He's without a doubt one of the best players in baseball, if not the best player we'll see in our lives.


Because he's so damn good, he got that ridiculous big-money contract of 10 years and $250 million dollars. Then he offered to even take a cut in pay to be traded to the Yankees or Red Sox so that he could compete on a team with a decent chance for a World Series Championship, the one honor that has eluded him. When denied the cut in pay, he still managed to find his way to New York. Being the humble superstar he is, he even opted to give up his days of playing shortstop and took up third base as his new home. And in his second year playing in the Bronx and in a new position, he won the American League MVP.


And so here we are today. A-Rod is in some kind of a slump… for A-Rod. He's batting .278 with 22 home runs and 73 RBI this year – some slump. And he's really struggled with the glove and even throwing the ball as of late, including one dreadful game where he committed three errors. New Yorkers have not treated their superstar kindly in light of his recent woes. They've definitely not supported him and are clearly having an impact on his ability to keep his mental focus. Apparently they just don't get it – that incessantly mistreating their players in the middle of a playoff hunt is counter-productive.


Look at it from this perspective: A-Rod is going to pull out of this slump. He's more than likely going to march on and break many an offensive record in his career. He is arguably the best threat our generation has today to surpassing Hank Aaron's 755 home run mark, and that includes Barry Bonds. He's a bona fide Hall of Famer, and barring injury, he's got many phenomenal years ahead of him.


Since the Yankees fans don't seem to want him, do you?


If you wanted to see Alex Rodriguez in a St. Louis Cardinals uniform, what would you be willing to trade for him?


First understand that A-Rod has a no-trade clause in his contract with the Yanks, so that means he'd have to offer up waiving that clause. And considering his competitive fever and thrive to complete what he's started, he's not likely to give up in New York to go somewhere else.


But let's just say, just for a second, that the clause doesn't exist. Or that A-Rod has already offered to waive it goodbye.


I can tell you that I'd love to see him in a Cubs uniform. If I were Jim Hendry, I'd be like: "Tell me who you want, Mr. Steinbrenner. I'd be willing to deal any combination of the following: Juan Pierre, Jacque Jones, Todd Walker, and Mark Prior. Yes, even Mark Prior. Take your pick." Bring A-Rod to Chicago, and I'll show you fans that will love him. He could return to his native shortstop position, and the Cubs could move Ronny Cedeno over to second base. Give me a three-four-five order of A-Rod, Derrek Lee, and Aramis Ramirez to start the 2007 season with (yes, I'm conceding 2006), and I can show you a much happier north side of Chicago.


So what would you be willing to trade for A-Rod, Cardinals fans?


How about this? Scott Rolen and any of the young pitching prospects except for Anthony Reyes? Or if you're not willing to part with Rolen, how about Jim Edmonds and David Eckstein? Eck could return to the second base position where he started his career. Maybe you'd even look to broker a deal for A-Rod to include Eckstein and Adam Wainwright?


Could you imagine A-Rod hitting behind Albert Pujols for the next few years?


God knows that the Cardinal Nation would appreciate A-Rod a helluva lot more than New York has. And they wouldn't jump all over his case when a little slump cropped up.


So as you mull about your day, strike up the conversation with your co-workers, family, friends, and fellow fans as though you're Walt Jocketty for a day: Would you attempt to make a fair trade for A-Rod? And just what would you be willing to trade for him?


Got comments? Sound off to pete@petekhazen.com

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