Remember: A-Rod was Almost an Angel

So Game 6 is rained out. That means we're spending our Saturday night thinking about baseball rather than watching it.

So, as long as we're thinking about baseball, let me give you something to think about: What if Alex Rodriguez were playing third base for the Angels? It almost happened...

After the 2007 season, Rodriguez opted out of his monster contract with the New York Yankees. Amazingly, the Yankees balked at paying him.

Let's make one thing clear: Back in 2007, there were two elite players in Major League Baseball. One was Albert Pujols. The other was Alex Rodriguez (since then, only Joe Mauer has joined their ranks). The Yankees are the one team in baseball that has unlimited money to spend. And they almost missed out on a chance to re-sign their best player.

The stupidity of it was mind-boggling. Because the New York tabloids like to write outrageous things to rile up the fans, the thinking became that A-Rod was a post-season choker. Of course, by the end of the 2007 season, A-Rod had a higher career post-season OPS (.856) than a certain Yankees post-season hero named Derek Jeter (.846). (Oh, and if you think A-Rod's and Jeter's numbers back then were super close, they're not anymore. A-Rod's playoff OPS has risen to .958, while Jeter now sits 100 points lower at .858.)

But back to the point at hand: The Yankees almost let A-Rod go. And the Angels were the team most likely to scoop him up. Owner Arte Moreno wanted some protection for Vlad Guerrero, and I truly think he would have broken the bank for A-Rod. And he would have been smart to do it.

But A-Rod and the Yanks finally agreed to a deal, and the Angels turned around and signed Twins free agent centerfielder Torii Hunter. Don't get me wrong, Hunter's a solid player. But if the Halos had signed A-Rod, they could have played him at third and Chone Figgins in centerfield. They would have been just as good defensively, and loads better offensively.

If they had A-Rod, the Angels would have had homefield advantage in this year's playoffs. At the very least, they'd be heading into this weekend with a 3-2 lead over the Yanks. More likely, they would have already won the series and they'd undoubtedly be favored over the Phillies in the World Series.

Oh well, that's not the case. Instead, A-Rod is the hottest player in baseball and the biggest reason the Yanks are on the verge of World Title Number 27.

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