Notwithstanding GM Brian Cashman's denials, the Yankees are rumored to be shopping future Hall of Fame third baseman Alex Rodriguez and may even be willing to pay most or all of his remaining salary just to be rid of him. Twelve years ago, many thought it written in stone that Rodriguez would sign a free agent deal with the Mets. That was 2000, when he was one of the best players in baseball; now he's merely one of the best third basemen in New York, and scurries home from this year's postseason having been pinch-hit for late in games and benched outright in deference to Eric Chavez of all people.
As a thought experiment, I wondered on Twitter whether Mets fans would consider trading for Rodriguez if the Yankees were indeed willing to pay the balance of his contract. I suspect a lot of people would reject any possible deal on face, which tells you something about how far Rodriguez has fallen as a player and a person in many fans' estimation. As a baseball move, though, trading nothing for Alex Rodriguez is basically a no-brainer: If he turns things around somewhat, huge win. If he doesn't, nothing ventured, nothing gained, but nothing lost, either.
So let's make things a little tougher by suggesting the Mets send Ruben Tejada back to the Yankees. The logistics of the deal don't matter much, though the Yankees could certainly use a stopgap shortstop with Derek Jeter's rehab likely to drag on for five months according to the latest prognosis.
Tejada is young and cheap, but there are no monetary considerations here because Rodriguez would be free. In fact, over the next four or five years, Tejada would be the more expensive of the two, because he'd stand to make some money in arbitration in a few years while Rodriguez would continue playing gratis, at least from the Mets' perspective.
Just to keep things simple, let's ignore money altogether. What we're left with is a very clean, yet extraordinarily hypothetical, question. Who would you rather have for the next five seasons: Alex Rodriguez or Ruben Tejada?
For a little production context, Tejada hit .289/.333/.351 this season; Rodriguez hit .272/.353/.430.
For those of you who would prefer to keep Tejada, kindly say if it's because you simply prefer him as a player or if you just loathe Rodriguez too much to even contemplate having him on the Mets.