Alex Rodriguez had a long, productive MLB career. But it ended with accusations of using performance-enhancing drugs. When Rodriguez retired as a player, he was seen as being persona non grata given the controversy surrounding him.
As time went on, though, he seemed to be welcomed back to MLB. Now, he’s fully back in the baseball spotlight. Rodriguez has turned into a successful broadcaster, working for both ESPN and Fox. Here’s how he made his way back into MLB’s good graces.
Alex Rodriguez’s MLB career
A.Rod spent his 22-year career with the Mariners, Rangers, and Yankees. He hit .295 with 696 home runs and 2,086 RBI. The shortstop currently ranks fourth all-time in home runs and third in RBI. Rodriguez earned the American League MVP three times. He won two Gold Gloves and 10 Silver Slugger awards in his prolific career.
The 14-time All-Star led the American League in WAR five times in his career. His 117.5 WAR is currently the 16th best in MLB history. He also has one World Series championship, having won the title with the Yankees in 2009.
Controversy surrounds A.Rod
A 2009 Sports Illustrated report claimed Rodriguez tested positive for using banned substances in 2003. Then, he admitted to using steroids in the past. Rodriguez insisted he was clean by that point. But regardless of whether he told the truth, his legacy was tarnished forever and his image took a hit.
He wasn’t as valuable to companies for endorsements. His chances of making the Hall of Fame on the first ballot — if at all — took a big hit, too. Things got worse for A.Rod when he was later implicated in another steroid scandal and was suspended for the entire 2014 season.
By then, Rodriguez was past his prime. His playing career wouldn’t last much longer after his season-long suspension. The former star retired in 2016. He became tabloid fodder due to his relationship with Jennifer Lopez as he tried to rebuild his image.
Alex Rodriguez, successful broadcaster
Not long after he retired, Rodriguez got a job as a Fox Sports studio analyst, mainly working on postseason coverage. He drew high praise for his work in the studio, which likely helped him get another broadcasting job.
ESPN sought to makeover its Sunday Night Baseball broadcast team prior to the 2018 season. And A.Rod was high on the network’s analyst wish list. He ended up getting the gig. Rodriguez worked veteran play-by-play announcer Matt Vasgersian and fellow analyst Jessica Mendoza. This booth alignment received some criticism for focusing too much on Rodriguez.
This offseason, ESPN announced it’s moving Mendoza out of the Sunday night booth and have her work in the studio, as well as working games other nights of the week. That move leaves Rodriguez and Vasgersian working together in what is now a two-man booth as Rodriguez enters the final year of his contract with ESPN.
A.Rod also continues to do studio work for Fox in the postseason, and his broadcasting empire extends beyond baseball. He also had his own show on CNBC, Back in the Game, in which he helped celebrities who had fallen on hard times try to get back in the public spotlight and rebuild their net worth — something A-Rod knows about given his net worth is estimated to be about $350 million.