On Tuesday, Alex Rodriguez hit home run No. 651 of his career, putting him just nine short of tying Willie Mays for fourth place on the all-time list. The mark now has more financial importance than historical. As part of A-Rod's 10-year, $275 million contract, he has five $6 million bonuses for home run milestones, the first of which is for tying Mays.
One of the major issues hovering over A-Rod's appeal of his 211-game drug suspension is the $86 million he is owed through 2017. If his ban is not reduced, this could be the final month of his career, going on the theory that after missing all of 2014 and part of 2015, either Rodriguez, who by that time would be almost 40, would be unable to physically come back, or the Yankees might just cut him. (Of course, there would be a lot of noise and lawyers so who knows exactly what will happen?)
Right now, A-Rod is on the field and is helping, hitting .284 with four homers and eight RBIs in 74 at-bats, encompassing 20 games. That is a homer every 18.5 at-bats. To hit nine more at that pace, A-Rod would need 167 more at-bats. With the Yankees having just 30 games remaining, Rodriguez figures to have around 110-120 at-bats, if he stays healthy and plays nearly every day. So it seems unlikely he hits the 660/$6M powerball unless he gets really hot.
In the previous five years, A-Rod has hit nine homers in a month twice. In June, 2008, he hit nine in 121 at-bats on his way to 35 for the season. In September, 2010, he also hit nine in 95 at-bats on his way to 30.
In 2009, he had two months with seven home runs, but no nines. In 2011, he needed to add two months together to reach nine long balls. In 2012, he hit six in one month.
QUESTION: Do you think A-Rod can catch Mays this season?