Just before the 2016 season began, Alex Rodriguez announced he will retire when his 10-year, $275 million contract expires after the 2017 season.
Entering the 2016 season, Rodriguez had amassed a .297 batting average, .382 on-base percentage and .554 slugging percentage with 687 home runs over 21 seasons with the Mariners, Rangers and Yankees. He has been named an All Star 14 times, won the AL MVP award three times, and collected 10 Silver Sluggers and two Gold Gloves.
After 23 years of baseball dominance, Rodriguez would certainly be considered a lock for the Hall of Fame if it weren’t for the year he spent serving a suspension for PED use in 2014. The same shadow that has fallen over Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire may also block Rodriguez from the Hall, though that decision won’t be made until 2023 if he does in fact retire in 2017.
Though Rodriguez’s play has certainly declined in recent years—he hit just .250 in 2015 after sitting out the entire 2014 season with the suspension—he still has a chance to break more records over his final two seasons.
Rodriguez has no chance of overtaking Babe Ruth to become the leading slugging Yankee, with 11 years of service time in the Bronx to Ruth’s 15 (he would have to hit 159 home runs in each of his final seasons to reach Ruth’s 659). But there are several all-time records he could close in on with two solid years of performance.
Here is what A-Rod’s stats would have to look like over the next two years if he were to become the leader in the three categories he is within striking distance of:
|Career Total||leader total||2015 SEASON||per season to Be leader|
*Statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference
Rodriguez hit his 660th home run early in the 2015 season to move into fourth place on the all-time leaderboard. He needs just 27 more to tie Babe Ruth at No. 3 and 68 more to reach Hank Aaron in the No. 2 spot. Though hitting 38 home runs in each of the next two seasons to overtake Barry Bonds as the home run king isn’t an impossible feat for Rodriguez to achieve, his recent performance suggests it is improbable. Rodriguez has not hit more than 35 home runs since the 2007 season—when he led the league with 54—and has averaged 24 homers a year for the past seven seasons.
Rodriguez’s highest ever RBI and run totals both came in 2009 when he batted in 156 runs and scored 143 himself during his third MVP season at 31 years old. The odds of his scoring 147 or even bating in 121 runs over his final seasons is incredibly unlikely, especially considering the state of the Yankees offense. In 2007, New York led the league in batting average (.290), on-base percentage (.366), slugging percentage (.463), runs scored (968) and RBIs (929). Despite finishing second in the league in both runs and RBIs last year, the Yankees offense has not performed at such a prolific level since 2012. Rodriguez himself has averaged 72 runs and 79 RBIs per season since 2007, leaving it more likely he assumes Pete Rose’s spot at No. 7 in runs and passes Babe Ruth for No. 2 in RBIs.
Below, we list how Rodriguez stacks up in most offensive categories, including those in which he almost certainly won't break the record.
Note: All statistics compiled by Baseball Reference
Leader: Pete Rose (3,562)
No. 27: Mel Ott (2,730)
No. 28: Rodriguez (2,719)
Leader: Pete Rose (15,890)
No. 19: Tris Speaker (11,995)
No. 20: Rodriguez (11,964)
Leader: Pete Rose (4,256)
No. 20: Dave Winfield (3,110)
No. 21: Rodriguez (3,070)
Leader: Barry Bonds (762)
No. 2: Hank Aaron (755)
No. 3: Babe Ruth (714)
No. 4: Rodriguez (687)
Leader: Rickey Henderson (2,295)
No. 7: Willie Mays (2,062)
No. 8: Rodriguez (2,002)
Runs batted in
Leader: Hank Aaron (2297)
No. 3: Cap Anson (2075)
No. 4: Rodriguez (2055)
Leader: Hank Aaron (6856)
No. 7: Pete Rose (5752)
No. 8: Rodriguez (5734)
Leader: Ty Cobb (.366)
No. 240: Andrew McCutchen (.298)
No. 249: Rodriguez (.297)
Leader: Ted Williams (.482)
No. 141: Willie Mays (.384)
No. 154: Rodriguez (.382)
Leader: Babe Ruth (.6897)
No. 20: Frank Thomas (.5549)
No. 21 Rodriguez: (.5545—tied with Hank Aaron)