The New York Yankees and Alex Rodriguez were last seen together two weeks ago, and when they split for the winter, everyone wondered if the separation would become permanent.
Sure, like any rocky marriage, they have a contract. And, like any bad marriage, they can get a divorce.
Still, it doesn't take the general managers meetings in Palm Springs, Calif., next week, the owners meetings in Chicago in two weeks and baseball's annual winter meetings next month in Nashville to reach one undeniable conclusion:
You cannot be traded when no one wants you.
Not one team, a Yankees official told USA TODAY Sports, has called the club asking about Rodriguez. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the Yankees do not publicly discuss trade possibilities.
Then again, as a person familiar with Rodriguez's thinking said, there is not one team for which Rodriguez is willing to waive his full no-trade clause. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the topic.
Now, just like a rancorous marriage, they've decided to stick it out together, at least until one of them can't take it anymore.
No one in his right mind believes that Rodriguez will be a Yankee until his contract, and the remaining $114 million in salary, expires in 2017.
They'll be at each other's throats, at or least dare to mention Rodriguez's name on the public address speaker, before that happens.
So they have decided to stick it out, for better or worse, just as they vowed five years ago when Rodriguez signed that staggering 10-year, $275 million contract after he opted out of his original deal.
That contract was orchestrated by owners Hal and Hank Steinbrenner, not general manager Brian Cashman.
And if this marriage dissolves because of their irreconcilable differences, it will be up to the Steinbrenners to draw up divorce papers and find a way out of this mess.
The Yankees and Rodriguez know this cannot possibly work for the long haul, but for the time being they have no choice but to act civilly.
Manager Joe Girardi, who actually called the Yankee Stadium public address announcer to inform him not to mention Rodriguez's name when he pinch-hit for him during the playoffs, according to CBSSports.com., talked with Rodriguez for an hour this past week.
It was the first time they had spoken on the phone since Rodriguez was benched for the third and final time of the playoffs, with Rodriguez speaking for 20 minutes with the news media before departing the night the club was swept out of the American League Championship Series by the Detroit Tigers.
The call was conciliatory and, probably, necessary. You don't bench or pinch-hit for the highest-paid player in baseball history six times in nine postseason games - despite his .120 batting average and 12 strikeouts in 25 at-bats - and not have repercussions.
Rodriguez's ego was badly bruised. So would anyone's. Girardi didn't apologize, according to ESPN.com, and confirmed by USA TODAY Sports, and explained to Rodriguez why he was benched.
Rodriguez appreciated the call, according to his confidant, and respects Girardi. Rodriguez has a closer relationship with Girardi than he did with former manager Joe Torre.
Then again, Girardi had no choice. When Girardi inquired, and was informed that Rodriguez likely would be coming back as a Yankee, there's no way he could let this fester. He told Rodriguez how much he is needed. He told him that he believes in him. If the Yankees are going to be World Series champions again, Rodriguez must lead the way.
What else was Girardi going to say? Maybe, "My goodness, will you ever get another hit off a right-hander?"
If Rodriguez wasn't embarrassed enough to privately ask out, or give the Yankees a few teams he'd be willing to accept a trade to, there's no reason to assume anything other than Rodriguez will be in Tampa in February for spring training.
For richer, or for poorer, the Yankees and Rodriguez have decided to give this one more try.
But if there's a suitor lurking around the corner, expressing the slightest of interest, the temptation might be too powerful to remain faithful toward each other.
Those salacious rumors and innuendo aren't about to fade away now.
Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com
Read the original story: Yankees, Alex Rodriguez far from Splitsville