Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

A-Rod Chasing Records, Money

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

A-Rod Chasing Records, Money

Article excerpt

As Alex Rodriguez marched toward his career total of 647 home runs, he passed many of the greatest hitters to ever play.

In 2008, he overtook Mickey Mantle and Mike Schmidt. In 2009, he passed Reggie Jackson and Harmon Killebrew. In 2010, he left Frank Robinson in his rear window.

Along the way, Rodriguez also passed a number of players who, like him, have a cloud of suspicion hanging over their careers because of their links to performance-enhancing drugs.

Now, with 13 more home runs needed, Rodriguez could reach one of baseball's most famous numbers, 660, the career home run total of Willie Mays. When and if he does hit that number, Rodriguez will receive a $6 million bonus as part of his much-maligned 10-year contract with the New York Yankees.

While Rodriguez will very likely never be a great hitter again, the Yankees should be ready to pay that bonus at some point, if not this season. It is a goal that Rodriguez should eventually be expected to reach, even if he is eventually swinging one-handed.

For a player with more than $300 million in career earnings, a $6 million bonus might seem somewhat insignificant. But Rodriguez is likely to lose a considerable amount of money to some sort of suspension after his current appeal runs its course. That probably makes the $6 million more important to Rodriguez and probably makes him more motivated to earn it. Assuming he does, imagine how much the Yankees -- who have little regard for Rodriguez these days -- will wince when they have to sign the check.

The number 13 also happens to be Rodriguez's uniform number with the Yankees. It is worth noting, too, that in 2007, the season in which Rodriguez won his third Most Valuable Player award, he hit his first 13 home runs of the season in the first 18 games of April.

Of course, that was a very different Rodriguez from the one the Yankees have had for the last few seasons. …

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