Alex Rodriguez won't be booted from the Bronx after he plays his final game with the New York Yankees on Friday night. Instead, the 41-year-old will transition into an advisory role with the club - an offer that left the three-time MVP "humbled and flattered."
Brian Cashman, the Yankees' longtime general manager, didn't see that coming.
"I thought it was f---ing crazy,'' Cashman told ESPN of his initial reaction when assistant GM Jean Afterman broached the possibility of making A-Rod a special adviser. "He ain't taking no coaching job.''
Joe Girardi, who has spent the last nine years as Rodriguez's manager, felt similarly.
"I was somewhat surprised because I know how much he loves to play,'' Girardi said. "(But) if I could see him doing anything that is another passion of his, of sharing the game with young players, that part I'm not surprised.''
Rodriguez, who's expected to sign a new contract upon receiving his release following Friday's game (he's still owed about $27 million on that deal), said he was "very happy" with this arrangement, though, noting that the organization's young players can "learn equally from all the mistakes that I've made and hopefully not make them."
"Alex has already proven to be a willing and effective mentor to many players who have come through our clubhouse, and I am confident that this next phase of his baseball life will bring out the best in Alex and the next generation of Yankees," team owner Hal Steinbrenner said Sunday in a statement.
Though Cashman said Rodriguez is free to sign with another team should he wish to continue his playing career - the Miami Marlins have reportedly had internal talks about acquiring him, too - the 14-time All-Star suggested after Thursday's Fenway finale that Friday will be the end of his days in uniform.
"I'm focusing in on (these games) as this is it, I mean, like, this is it," Rodriguez said. "I'm not looking beyond that. I value the pinstripes. I value this organization. To me, this is it."