A-Rod's latest troubles irk Yankees

Photo by AP
| Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, 8:34 p.m.

Alex Rodriguez was speaking on a conference call.

“A huge debacle,” he said. “Distasteful.”

That was Dec. 13, 2007, when he re-signed with the Yankees and was discussing his decision 1½ months earlier to become a free agent.

Now those words describe how some in the team's front office feel about A-Rod's $275 million, 10-year contract.

Once considered a player who could shatter the career home run record, Rodriguez has transformed from All-Star to annoyance for some in the Yankees organization. He hasn't played a full season since he was voted his third AL MVP award in 2007, he's out for at least the first half of this year following hip surgery on Jan. 16, and he's been accused of again receiving performance-enhancing drugs — an allegation he denies.

Even before the charges were published Tuesday by the alternative weekly Miami New Times along with accusations against Melky Cabrera, Nelson Cruz, Gio Gonzalez, Bartolo Colon and Yasmani Grandal, some Yankees executives were wishing Rodriguez would just go away. Speaking on condition of anonymity because the team isn't publicly commenting on A-Rod's latest troubles, they revealed their frustration with the slugger.

And they have a big incentive for A-Rod to disappear. If he doesn't play again because a career-ending injury, about 85 percent of the $114 million he's owed by the team would be covered by insurance, according to one of the executives who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Even before the latest kerfuffle, A-Rod seemed to have worn out his welcome.

Yankees management tired of spotting him on the gossip pages with Madonna, Kate Hudson, Cameron Diaz and Torrie Wilson. They bristled when he was seen with a stripper in Toronto, at a swingers' club in Dallas and at an illegal poker club in New York.

Rodriguez's 647 home runs are 115 shy of tying Barry Bonds' career record, but he has totaled just 34 the last two seasons, and his 38th birthday is in July.

Yankees talk to DH Hafner

The Yankees are speaking with the agent for free-agent Travis Hafner and may try to sign the 35-year-old to compete for time as a left-handed designated hitter.

Hafner spent the past decade with Cleveland and hit .228 with 12 homers and 34 RBI last year. He would take over a role filled last year by Raul Ibanez, who left the Yankees to sign with Seattle.

Jays sign ex-Pirate LaRoche

The Blue Jays agreed to terms with former Pirates infielder Andy LaRoche on a minor league contract that includes an invitation to spring training.

LaRoche appeared in 96 games for the Triple-A teams of the Indians and Red Sox last season, batting .251 with 20 doubles, 12 home runs and 41 RBI.

The right-handed hitter has played in 403 games for the Dodgers, Pirates and Athletics. He has a career average of .226 with 22 home runs and 133 RBI.

Marcum officially joins Mets

Right-hander Shaun Marcum officially signed with the Mets on Wednesday and said during a conference call his goal is to pitch “200-plus innings.” Marcum's one-year contract will pay him $4 million in salary and can earn $2.25 million in performance bonuses and $1.75 million in roster bonuses.

In 21 starts for Milwaukee last year, he was 7-4 with a 3.71 ERA.

Around the majors

The Angels and reliever Kevin Jepsen agreed to a one-year contract worth $1,181,250, avoiding arbitration with the hard-throwing right-hander. Jepsen went 3-2 with a 3.02 ERA last year. ... The Diamondbacks finalized their $5 million, two-year contract with shortstop Cliff Pennington. He gets a $1 million signing bonus payable June 15 and salaries of $1.25 million this year and $2.75 million in 2014. ... The Marlins claimed right-hander Sam Dyson off waivers from Toronto.

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