Which MLB team will Álex Rodríguez buy? Ranking A-Rod's options
Once the face of sporting scandal, Álex Rodríguez has totally remade his image since retiring in 2016. Hated by fans, loathed by teammates and resented by industry insiders, Rodríguez reached a grim nadir when outed as a steroids cheat, yet nowadays, the uninitiated are frequently mesmerised by his demagogic aura. A-Rod, l’enfant terrible of big league ball, has morphed into Álex, the smouldering entrepreneur with sagacious acumen. The transformation is startling, and it has only just begun.
At this point, barely a month goes by without a gaudy announcement of A-Rod Corp. becoming embroiled in another project, from beer to basketball and everything in between. The man collects job titles like Zack Hample collects baseballs. And now, A-Rod is focused on the grand crescendo of his miraculous transformation: owning a Major League Baseball team and having it dominate the game he never stopped loving.
In 2020, for instance, Rodríguez and then-lover Jennifer Lopez made a high-profile bid to buy the New York Mets, failing only when Steve Cohen stumped up $2.42 billion. A-Rod and J-Lo planned to invest $250 million of their own money in the Mets, a bold statement of intent. Rodríguez, in particular, is that committed to the vision. “I wake up every day and think it’s going to be the lucky day,” he told Sportico after the Mets deal collapsed. “We are open for business.”
Here, we see once again that baseball is a murky world. Anyone interested in joining the inner sanctum must navigate a minefield of nepotism, cronyism and politics. To successfully transfer ownership, a big league franchise must be available for purchase. Then, a mastery of realpolitik is required to orchestrate the mood music, influencing key decision-makers. And finally, a prospective owner must leverage strong contacts to bridge gaps in finance and goodwill, brokering any potential deal. That is a lot for anybody to contemplate, but Rodríguez seems intent on doing so.
Forbes estimates that A-Rod has a net worth of at least $400 million, giving him a solid base from which to work. Moreover, when you can ring Warren Buffet, Howard Schultz or Gary Vaynerchuk and access billions of dollars on speed dial, buying a big league baseball team is undoubtedly possible. Therefore, I’m fairly confident that Álex Rodríguez will buy an MLB franchise one day, and it will represent the ultimate fusing of his baseball passion and business skill, capping his remarkable resurgence with a scintillating encore.
Ranking A-Rod's likely destinations as an MLB owner
The crux of achieving such an ambition lies in getting those stars to align and capitalising on the right opportunity when it finally presents itself. Let us take a deep dive into his options, then, ranking the myriad possibilities in order of likelihood – from the impossible and illogical to the synergetic and palpable. Without further ado, let another A-Rod rollercoaster ride unfurl before us.
31. Boston Red Sox
No chance. A-Rod is probably more likely to end up in the White House, or on the moon, than in the ownership suite at Fenway Park.
30. New York Mets
Been there, done that. Once bitten, twice shy.
29. Miami Marlins
Derek Jeter spent decades trying to get A-Rod out of his life, and he will never let him back in. No deal here.
28. Texas Rangers
Too much water has trickled under this particular bridge. A-Rod left Texas in 2003, the franchise ravaged by his enormous contract, and both parties have moved on, making this move highly unlikely.
27. St Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals are fiercely proud of their tradition, culture and heritage. Outsiders do not get welcomed in very often, and the same will be true of any potential new owner. Oh, and besides, the DeWitt family is not selling, so forget it.
26. San Diego Padres
The Padres’ entire franchise has been revitalised in recent years and the team is all-in hunting for a championship, so there will not be a change of ownership in San Diego anytime soon, either.
25. Kansas City Royals
Likewise, the Royals only changed hands in 2019, when John Sherman took over. A further deal is unlikely in the medium-term, so A-Rod will focus his efforts elsewhere.
24. Toronto Blue Jays
The added complexity of doing business in Canada would likely deter Rodríguez from pursuing the Blue Jays, even if Rogers decides to divest its assets one day. Not going to happen.
23. Chicago Cubs
While the Ricketts family has achieved its main objectives – renovating Wrigley Field and winning a World Series championship – the Cubs now feel like a family institution. A-Rod does not fit into that landscape, and he probably never will.
22. Atlanta Braves
Liberty Media is committed to a long-term resuscitation project in Atlanta, with a new stadium hosting a young homegrown core thirsting for success. A sale is relatively unlikely, therefore, rendering moot any interest from A-Rod.
21. Washington Nationals
It is at least feasible that, after winning a world championship in 2019, the Lerner family feels compelled to find a new challenge elsewhere. Washington does not strike me as a very A-Rod-friendly place, however. You know, people kinda like rules there, and compliance is not exactly Álex’s strong suit. Yikes.
20. Los Angeles Dodgers
If Magic Johnson was not a co-owner at Chavez Ravine, the Dodgers would be way further down this list. However, the relatively strong relationship between Magic and A-Rod opens a remote possibility of Rodríguez buying into Guggenheim Baseball Management at some point. Unlikely, sure, but not impossible. This is Hollywood, after all. You never know.
19. Cincinnati Reds
Meh. Would A-Rod even be bothered about Cincinnati? It seems like a hard sell.
18. Arizona Diamondbacks
The Diamondbacks are probably due a change of ownership, as Ken Kendrick has been in control for 18 years. The team has quite an unhealthy debt load, however, and that may deter A-Rod from getting involved. The thought of competing in the National League West, alongside the Dodgers, Giants and Padres, is also not exactly mouth-watering. Pass.
17. Baltimore Orioles
A similar situation to the Diamondbacks. Rodríguez would probably want a little more glitz, glamour and value for his money, though. Baltimore has become something of a baseball graveyard in recent times, and A-Rod is unlikely to touch it.
16. San Francisco Giants
The Giants’ rather estranged ownership group has achieved it all in three decades at the helm. Three world titles. An iconic new ballpark. Barry Bonds breaking the single-season and all-time home run records. What more is there to prove? And where is the point of diminishing returns? There is a remote possibility San Francisco could be sold in the coming years, and A-Rod would certainly kick the tires. Finance may be an issue, though, as the Giants would likely command more than $3 billion.
15. Milwaukee Brewers
The Brewers are an intriguing team, a small market footprint perched tantalisingly on the cusp of powerhouse potential. Milwaukee would undoubtedly rank among the more affordable MLB teams for A-Rod, and a dedicated fanbase may add to his interest. Still, the Brewers seem wedded to an investor model, as evidenced by recent stimuli from Giannis Antetokounmpo. Too many cooks – and too many egos – usually spoil the broth, and that decentralised ownership structure may discourage A-Rod. Bud Selig still holds shadowy influence in Milwaukee, too, so that may be a non-starter.
14. Tampa Bay Rays
The perennial bugbear of commissioner Rob Manfred, Tampa Bay still requires a new stadium, and with the Rays’ lease on hideous Tropicana Field set to expire in 2027, the need for a resolution is urgent. Talks of moving the franchise to Montreal continue apace, perhaps even in a hybrid city-sharing arrangement, but a change of ownership does not appear forthcoming. In charge since 2005, Stuart Sternberg is a fiercely independent operator with a clear vision for his franchise. He is unlikely to relinquish the Rays anytime soon, nullifying A-Rod’s strong ties to Florida as a theoretical fulcrum of negotiations.
13. Philadelphia Phillies
Philadelphia is a major sports market with a rabid fan culture. A-Rod would find great motivation in such an environment, and the Phillies could probably use a fresh perspective after years of stasis under John Middleton. Delusions of grandeur may inflate the Phillies’ asking price, though, complicating any possible takeover.
12. Houston Astros
There would be a sweet poetic justice to Álex Rodríguez, once the most hated baseball player in the world, taking charge of the Houston Astros, currently the most hated franchise MLB can muster. The prospect of revitalising a team in his own image may motivate A-Rod, but the Astros’ comparatively large amount of debt may preclude a serious bid.
11. Detroit Tigers
The Tigers tick many boxes for Álex Rodríguez. Big market – check. Proud history – check. Longstanding ownership in need of relief – check. Relatively affordable asking price – check. Again, though, the Tigers have operational debts of more than $30 million, and the team is in a pretty sorry state right now. Nevertheless, bold leadership and creative ingenuity are desperately needed to resuscitate the Tigers, and A-Rod may be the guy to assume that challenge.
10. Cleveland Guardians
New name, same financial uncertainty for Cleveland’s American League team. This franchise has struggled at the gate in recent times, despite a perennially watchable product on the field. Pandemic turbulence has exacerbated those issues, and fresh impetus may be required from outside the organisation for progress to emerge. A-Rod could certainly put together a package for the Guardians, one of the cheaper MLB franchises, and the allure of bringing a championship to Cleveland might provide the ego massage Álex desires. This one is certainly intriguing.
9. Pittsburgh Pirates
A sleeping giant of North American sports, the Pirates have a rich heritage that has not been honoured in recent decades. A-Rod is a sucker for baseball history, and he will appreciate the Pirates’ enviable pantheon of immortals, from Honus Wagner and Roberto Clemente to Willie Stargell and Paul Waner. A Forbes valuation of $1.285 billion puts Pittsburgh in Rodríguez’ economic wheelhouse, as does the increasingly tedious ownership of Robert Nutting. I would not be shocked to see this one happen, and there are few better revitalisation projects in MLB.
8. Oakland Athletics
Another iconic franchise in need of salvation, the Athletics are reaching a pivotal juncture in their history. With interminable negotiations to build a new stadium in Oakland continuing to frustrate, the teams’ owners have started looking elsewhere – Las Vegas, in particular – for support. There is a chance said owners become tired of the impasse and simply walk away, allowing somebody else to throw a Hail Mary at the Oakland market. If anyone can get that deal done, A-Rod may have a chance. Oh, and Vegas would kinda suit him, too, as a backup plan. Just imagine that.
7. New York Yankees
Hal Steinbrenner is routinely asked whether he would sell the Yankees, and he typically responds with a stock line about how important the team is to his family. Indeed, long-term plans are afoot for the next generation of Steinbrenners to assume control, but there has to be a twinge of intrigue regarding just how much the Yankees could fetch on the open market. Maybe Hal gets an itchy trigger finger one day and takes a shot.
Of course, George, his legendary father, bought the franchise for $8.8 million in 1973. Now, according to Forbes, the Yankees are worth at least $5.25 billion. It is highly unlikely that somebody will muster that kind of cash alone, but various consortia are bound to be interested, should the team ever court offers. Hal is cognisant of his father’s legacy, and he knows how much George loved owning the Yankees, but the prospect of a 600-fold return on investment has to fascinate any entrepreneur. There may come a point when that value is too good to ignore.
A-Rod would certainly love to own the Yankees. Who would not? There are serious complications here, though, beyond the mammoth asking price. Despite spending 12 years in pinstripes and hitting more home runs for New York than Roger Maris and Reggie Jackson combined, Rodríguez remains something of a pariah in Yankeeland. The way Álex handled his steroid suspensions – even suing team doctor Chris Ahmad at one point – left a bitter taste in the mouth, and A-Rod is persona non grata among the Yankees’ inner sanctum.
Yes, he served as a special assistant to general manager Brian Cashman for a spell after retiring, but the Yankees were fatigued by Álex Rodríguez. They were desperate to see the back of him, hence the stunning decision to truncate his final season. Whether Hal would even negotiate with such a divisive figure is debatable, but A-Rod likes to shoot for the moon, and fronting a deal to buy the Yankees would be his pièce de résistance, so do not rule it out.
Interestingly, and perhaps in the realm of consortia pipe-dreams, Rodríguez also has a burgeoning relationship with Howard Schultz, the Starbucks czar with a net worth of around $5 billion. Schultz is a diehard Yankees fan who grew up worshipping Mickey Mantle, and he may have a sports itch to scratch following the Seattle Supersonics’ disastrous dénouement under his aegis.
A few years back, Schultz appeared on A-Rod’s fleeting podcast with Barstool Sports, waxing lyrical about the Yankees, a shared passion. When asked directly if he would buy the Yankees should they become available, Schultz said he would certainly kick the tires. Just imagine him joining forces with A-Rod to rekindle a dormant juggernaut. Wow. I, for one, would love to see it happen.
6. Expansion team
Commissioner Manfred is keen to expand the league to 32 teams before departing office. Once the league finds resolutions in some of its more defective markets – Oakland and Tampa Bay, chiefly – it will likely explore expansion options, with several cities jostling for a future franchise.
The baseball cognoscenti generally agrees that three destinations sit in pole position to land an expansion team: Montreal, Las Vegas and Portland. A rekindling of the Expos in Montreal would be iconic; football and ice hockey have passed the litmus test in Las Vegas; and Portland would manufacture a regional rivalry with the Mariners in the Pacific Northwest, adding interest and drama.
Manfred has occasionally been asked about the process of awarding expansion teams, citing a fee of around $2.2 billion, in line with the median MLB franchise valuation. Álex Rodríguez could certainly afford that, and he would lend an inimitable gravitas to any hardball startup. However, A-Rod’s rocky relationship with the baseball establishment – suspensions, lawsuits, soundbites – may muddy the waters somewhat in this crusade.
On the contrary, though, Rodríguez has served as a fine global ambassador for baseball in recent times. When the Yankees and Red Sox played in London, for instance, A-Rod was a linchpin of the league’s community outreach efforts. From the outside, then, Rodríguez appears to have a far healthier relationship with Manfred than with Selig, his predecessor, and that may be transformative when MLB forges ahead with its expansion plans. There are few businesspeople with the baseball acumen of A-Rod, and that could be a major asset to Manfred in the realisation of his growth objectives.
5. Colorado Rockies
Unusually for local owners with a strong ties to the franchise, Dick and Charlie Monfort do not enjoy great approval ratings in Colorado, and Rockies fans are tired of mediocrity at this point.
A lack of strategic vision from the top has contributed to remarkable stasis at Coors Field, with the Rockies making just five postseason appearances in their 29-year existence. Meanwhile, a chronic inability to lock down homegrown stars – Nolan Arenado, DJ LeMahieu, Trevor Story, Matt Holliday – exacerbates the toxic miasma, and something has to give eventually. The time for fresh thinking is nigh.
For A-Rod, the challenge of finally bringing a winner to Colorado – humidor and all – would be enthralling. He also has the cache to reverse those sour organisational trends of cheapness and irrelevance. You could definitely chalk this one up as a hunch, but I just like the fit between A-Rod and the Rockies. There seems to be synergy here, and a deal would likely bring relief for all concerned.
4. Seattle Mariners
The Mariners are a sleeping giant of unfulfilled potential. Without a postseason berth since 2001, and with just four October appearances in their 45-year franchise history, Seattle is home to arguably the most eccentric franchise in all of sports. Somebody is going to hit the jackpot by winning a title as Mariners owner one day, and A-Rod – a former M’s player – is as good an option as any.
Rodríguez debuted with the Mariners in 1994 and spent seven seasons in Seattle. Managed by Lou Piniella and mentored by stars like Ken Griffey Jr., Edgar Martínez and Randy Johnson, A-Rod won a batting title with the Mariners while honing his power stroke. Hailed as a prodigal son of the Emerald City, Rodríguez was nevertheless jeered and showered with Monopoly money upon his return with the Rangers in 2001, having spurned the Mariners to sign a 10-year, $252 million contract with Texas. Some Seattleites simply never forgave A-Rod, who still endures a bittersweet relationship with his original fans.
Those who loathe Rodríguez can probably rest easy for the time being, though. The Mariners do not appear to be for sale, per se. John Stanton only assumed day-to-day control in 2016, and he has embarked on a long-term rebuild with general manager Jerry Dipoto. However, some Mariners fans question whether Stanton has the firepower to fuel a true Mariners dynasty, while frequent public relations blunders – such as that involving team president Kevin Mather – have increased appetite for change. Whether A-Rod is the answer remains to be seen.
Ultimately, I see the present day Seattle Mariners in a similar vein as the mid-1990s Boston Red Sox: lovable losers teetering on the brink of a powerhouse, perpetually impinged by blundering executives. Perhaps better than anyone, Álex Rodríguez knows the latent baseball potential waiting to be excavated in Seattle. And he also knows how those aforementioned Red Sox increased their franchise value by more than 400% over the last two decades. Following a similar playbook, and getting rich in the process, will undoubtedly appeal to A-Rod.
3. Los Angeles Angels
Now, we are approaching A-Rod’s wheelhouse. In many ways, the Angels may be the ideal franchise for Rodríguez to buy. Located in a huge metropolitan market with zero debt and Mike Trout, the game’s greatest player, Anaheim is a tantalising proposition for any would-be buyer, and A-Rod figures to mix with that cohort.
Upgrading the team’s ageing stadium poses an intriguing challenge, as does breaking the ubiquitous domination of the crosstown Dodgers. Nevertheless, Forbes’ $2.025 billion valuation of the Angels seems like a bargain, quite frankly, and the potential return on investment is enormous.
A-Rod Corp. has a large office on Sunset Boulevard, adding geographic resonance to the firm’s hypothetical interest. In addition, Rodríguez’ aforementioned friendship with Magic Johnson may be a fulcrum of political and cultural expediency in this competitive market. A-Rod could get things done in Los Angeles, and that is half the battle for any prospective managing partner.
However, Arte Moreno, the Angels’ incumbent owner, is deeply passionate about baseball, and many view the team as his personal vanity project. Moreno has been in power for 18 years, spending vast amounts of money to compete for championships, and there is little sign of his interest waning.
Still, despite ranking among the more hands-on owners in MLB, Moreno is a businessman at heart, and the prospect of yielding a 1000% return on his original $184 million investment may be too good to turn down. Especially as Moreno is now 75, presumably with other interests to pursue before retiring. Do not sleep on this one, therefore. The stars could well align in Anaheim.
2. Minnesota Twins
It only seems natural that, after buying the NBA Timberwolves alongside former Walmart ecommerce CEO Marc Lore, A-Rod would explore other opportunities in the Minnesota market. With a relatively cheap valuation - $1.325 billion, according to Forbes – the Twins also match Rodríguez’ immediate resources, while the fact that A-Rod has already engineered political goodwill in Minnesota helps his cause.
“Marc and I love the town,” Rodríguez told The Athletic in a recent interview. “Long term, our vision is Minnesota all the way. We love it. We think there’s tremendous upside. I think it’s one of the most underrated cities in the country. If this was somewhere else, I don’t think Marc and I would’ve done the deal. We certainly wouldn’t have been as excited.”
The Twins’ last ownership change came 37 years ago, when the Pohlad family assumed control. Despite delivering 10 division championships and building a fine new stadium, the Pohlad’s have also led the Twins to middling anonymity in the intervening period. Minnesota once again finished way below .500 this season, and different ideas may be needed to turn the tide.
There are some potential holdups in a hypothetical A-Rod-Twins marriage, however. For instance, any issues with the Timberwolves project may have a residual impact on a hypothetical baseball deal. Nevertheless, when Álex Rodríguez brainstorms his options for MLB ownership, the Twins have to be right near the top, simply due to the connections he is building in Minnesota. Stranger things have happened, and A-Rod owes the Twins after knocking them out of the playoffs three times as a Yankee. You know it makes sense.
1. Chicago White Sox
Among the most powerful executives in sports, Jerry Reinsdorf has owned the White Sox for 40 years, mixing historic achievements with a sense of mild disappointment. Perhaps better known as ayatollah of the Chicago Bulls, thanks to Netflix and The Last Dance, Reinsdorf has typically ran his baseball team in a rather passive-aggressive manner. Yes, the White Sox won the World Series in 2005, hoisting their first title in 88 years, but the franchise has also become synonymous with bland near-misses under Jerry’s guidance.
The White Sox rarely approach the luxury tax threshold, for example, while chronic reticence to engage with marquee free agents belies their market footprint. That dichotomy has loyal fans oscillating between hope and despair, excitement and pessimism, pride and embarrassment. The White Sox lack a consistent approach, in other words, and change may be needed to recalibrate that ethos.
Reinsdorf is a big believer in hunches and instincts. He trusts certain guys and keeps wheeling them out there to fulfil specific functions – even when said functions evolve beyond the kin of said guys. Jerry has long been accused of outright cronyism, and those flamed were fanned by his winter hiring of 76-year old Tony LaRussa, a loyal friend, as White Sox manager. This is a major boon for A-Rod as he seeks to buy a ballclub, because Reinsdorf has long mentored Rodríguez in the finer art of business, giving him a distinct advantage in any potential sweepstakes.
Even when A-Rod was a player, Reinsdorf offered his counsel, supporting the controversial superstar through numerous furores. The pair often enjoy meals together, and Reinsdorf used his considerable influence when attempting to kibosh Cohen’s Mets bid. Ultimately, Reinsdorf does business with those he knows and trusts. It takes a lot of time, effort and perseverance to be accepted into his inner circle, but A-Rod has penetrated that nucleus, positioning himself as a viable Reinsdorf heir.
Of course, that begs the question of when Reinsdorf will sell the White Sox, if he ever does? At 85-years old, Jerry has to be thinking about his legacy and what the future holds for his sporting assets. Almost a decade ago, according to industry whispers, Reinsdorf wanted his family to keep hold of the Bulls while selling the White Sox one day. Whether that remains true is unclear, but a Forbes franchise valuation of $1.685 billion might tip the scales in favour of a sale.
At that price, Álex Rodríguez will undoubtedly be interested. The White Sox are an iconic franchise in a huge market with a riveting history. This is the team of Shoeless Joe Jackson and his Field of Dreams ensemble – 121 years of heritage woven into a baroque brand. A-Rod gets a kick from baseball history, and the White Sox have it dripping from every pore. He would love to etch his name alongside those of Reinsdorf, Veeck and Comiskey in the pantheon of South Side owners, and it definitely could happen. Jerry just needs to make the call.
Final thoughts on A-Rod’s baseball ownership ambitions, and predicting when he will buy a team
When all is said and done, then, Álex Rodríguez will buy a Major League Baseball team one day, and there is very little we can do to stop him. Investing in the Minnesota Timberwolves is just a stopover for A-Rod, a stepping stone to bigger things. He will likely matriculate the value of his basketball assets, flip them, and invest the proceeds into an MLB franchise. Baseball ownership is A-Rod’s endgame, and everything else is just grist for the mill.
Therefore, in conclusion, I offer a wildly speculative prediction: by 2035, A-Rod will own an MLB team having divested of all his other sports interests. Determining the identity of that team will fuel barroom debates until the day comes to pass, but my best guess is that Rodríguez buys the White Sox from Reinsdorf in the next decade. You heard it here first, people. Just remember that when the deal finally happens.
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