SEATTLE – His future has been in limbo all season, but Saturday night it finally hit Alex Rodriguez.
The Mariners’ superstar shortstop is eligible for free agency after the World Series, but he has not allowed the fact that this could be his final season as a Mariner to become a distraction for him or the team.
Then, on the eve of Sunday’s Game 5 of the American League Championship Series, Rodriguez started to ponder the reality that he might be playing his final game as a Mariner, at least at Safeco Field.
“I think last night for the first time it hit me,” Rodriguez said after Sunday’s 6-2 Seattle victory that sent the series back to New York. “I had a hard time sleeping a little bit, because, you know, you might be facing the end, and you don’t know really what the future holds for me.”
Rodriguez has maintained a consistent public stance that he’ll decide during the off-season where he’ll play next year, and that he’ll consider returning to the Mariners.
Speculation is that Rodriguez will command a record contract, perhaps in the neighborhood of $200 million for 10 years. His agent, Scott Boras, is known for getting record deals for his clients.
During spring training, the Mariners announced that they would not trade their 25-year-old phenom unless they were out of contention at midseason, setting up the possibility that they could lose him and get nothing in return.
“It’s been very easy for me to focus this year,” Rodriguez said. “I’ve come in very determined with a goal in mind. Like I said, yesterday for the first time I had some thoughts creeping into my mind. But I finally got a couple hours of sleep and got ready for the game.”
He admitted, though, that his impending decision has weighed on him at times.
“Obviously, you become a bit apprehensive about the possibilities,” he said. “And my mom has always told me, ‘Sometimes it’s not greener on the other side.’
“That’s something that when it is all said and done, I’m going to sit down and have a talk with my loved ones and hopefully make a wise decision.”
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