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One is certainly free to have a moral objection to Rodriguez, just as one is free to have a moral objection to the game’s litany of other scoundrels. But to consider his accomplishments illegitimate strikes me as an overreach which has no support from the game’s leadership and no basis in fact. Whatever you might think of Rodriguez personally, and no matter how disgusted you might be by the taint of steroids on baseball’s record book, you can’t pretend Rodriguez’s hits and home runs never happened . Even if you discount his accomplishments—something his suspension has already done to his numbers—Rodriguez has still had one of the most impressive careers in major league history—and let’s not forget that he accumulated many of those totals as a Gold Glove-quality shortstop. That may not necessarily be cause for celebration, as it was when Jeter reached 3,000 hits, but it will still be worth appreciating.

On February 15, 2004, the Rangers traded Rodriguez to the New York Yankees for second baseman Alfonso Soriano and a player to be named later ( Joaquín Árias was sent to the Rangers on March 24). The Rangers also agreed to pay $67 million of the $179 million left on Rodriguez's contract. Rodriguez agreed to switch positions from shortstop to third base, paving the way for the trade, because the popular Derek Jeter was already entrenched at shortstop. Rodriguez also had to switch uniform numbers, from 3 to 13; he had worn 3 his entire career, but that number is retired by the Yankees in honor of Babe Ruth . This was only the second time in MLB history that a reigning MVP was traded, with the first coming in 1914 when Eddie Collins was traded to the Chicago White Sox from the Philadelphia Athletics for cash considerations. [54]

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