Update 4:30 p.m.: Ron Berkowitz, a spokesperson for A-Rod, refuted the idea of the hitter joining the Marlins. Berkowitz tells WFAN in New York that Rodriguez will not be playing for any other teams this year. "It's not happening," he said.
In 1993, a 17-year-old Alex Rodriguez hit .505 as a senior at Westminster Christian School — the last time he played for a team in his hometown. A record signing bonus from the Seattle Mariners ensured that he never got an at-bat with the University of Miami, where he had committed to play.
In the 23 years since, A-Rod has gone from phenom to MVP to multiple steroid offender. And now, at least according to one highly placed baseball insider, he's coming home.
Rodriguez played his last game for the New York Yankees this past Friday. After he clears waivers today, he'll sign a new deal to play for the Miami Marlins, reports Jim Bowden, a former general manager and ESPN analyst.
"They're going to sign him once he clears waivers on Monday," Bowden said on his Sirius XM show. "This thing is gonna happen, so prepare yourself. It's going to cost me personally because I made a lot of bets saying that nobody would sign Alex Rodriguez, that his career was done and that it should be."
The move makes some sense for the Fish, who over the weekend lost their slugger Giancarlo Stanton for the rest of the regular season to a groin injury. Rodriguez hasn't hit at all this year — he's batting just .200 with nine homers this year.
But the Marlins could reunite him with fellow Steroid Era kingpin Barry Bonds, who is now the team's hitting coach, and Don Mattingly, a former Yankee great who holds A-Rod in high esteem. Plus, the most famous (and infamous) player in Miami history might just help sell a few tickets for a franchise still struggling to fill seats as it makes a playoff push.
Bowden says Rodriguez could play first base, where Chris Johnson has struggled for the Marlins this year, batting just .227 with four homers.
"Barry Bonds is close to him. He's helped him with his swing, and he'll get to help him again now," Bowden said. "Don Mattingly is a fan. He thinks he can play first base."
If the signing happens, it will be a reunion between a once-in-a-generation talent and a hometown that hasn't always been great to the slugger.
In 2011, a Miami New Times investigation revealed that Rodriguez had been getting steroids from Biogenesis, an anti-aging clinic in Coral Gables. Rodriguez and Major League Baseball then spent a year in a furious battle over records from the clinic as A-Rod fought a record 211-game ban handed down by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig.
Rodriguez lost his appeal and was eventually handed a full-season ban. He returned from that suspension with a surprising bounce-back year last season, when he hit 25 homers, but the 41-year-old has struggled mightily all this year.
Could he turn that around back in the city where his baseball tale began?
Take it from Bowden: "The script is perfect."
Update: Berkowitz, Rodriguez's spokesperson, said Bowden was wrong about A-Rod coming to play in Miami.
"I want to put all this talk to rest about Alex playing for any team this season. It's not happening."--— Sweeny Murti (@YankeesWFAN) August 15, 2016
ARod spokesman Ron Berkowitz
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.