Alex Rodriguez is one of the most polarizing baseball players of all time. No stranger to controversy, A-Rod has caused all-out brawls, used steroids in his career and was accused of cheating on Jennifer Lopez by Jose Canseco of all people.
Despite the negative attention and the media’s fixation with A-Rod throughout and after his Major League Baseball career, no one can deny he got absolutely paid over his 22-year career. Rodriguez checks in at No. 17 on Forbes‘ list of the top 25 highest-paid athletes of all-time ahead of names like Manny Pacquiao and longtime New York Yankees teammate Derek Jeter.
He doesn’t quite have $250 million yacht money like Jerry Jones does, but Rodriguez has compiled a hefty amount of change in his piggy bank from his playing days, endorsements and business endeavors.
Let’s break down how exactly a teenage shortstop from Miami turned his once-in-a-generation talent on the diamond into a fortune worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Rise to Stardom and First Contract
Alexander Emmanuel Rodriguez was actually born in New York City to two Dominican immigrants, Victor and Lourdes Rodriguez. The family moved to the Dominican Republic when he was 4 and then afterward to Miami, where he grew up.
It’s hard to overstate how much of a prized baseball prospect he was at South Florida’s Christopher Columbus High School and Westminster Christian School. USA Baseball named him its junior player of the year and Gatorade its national baseball student-athlete of the year.
One scout called him the “bigger and better” version of Derek Jeter. In 1993, he tried out for the United State national baseball team. No other high schooler had ever done that in baseball history.
The University of Miami recruited Rodríguez heavily and even offered him a chance to play quarterback for the football team. Ultimately, he turned it down and headed for the MLB.
The Seattle Mariners took A-Rod first overall in the 1993 MLB Draft, and he signed for $1.3 million, the first of many millions he’d make playing baseball. By 1994, the 18-year-old received the call to the bigs.
Two years later as a 20-year-old, A-Rod was an All-Star and finished second in American League MVP voting after hitting a league-best .358, 36 home runs, 123 RBIs, 141 runs and 15 stolen bases.
He was a full-fledged superstar. He also couldn’t legally drink.
The Mariners gave him a four-year, $10.6 million extension in 1996 but couldn’t capture a World Series title with him.
Alongside future Hall-of-Famers like Ken Griffey Jr., Edgar Martinez and Randy Johnson, Rodriguez and the Mariners made the playoffs three times during his stint in Seattle.
Texas Rangers Contract
Following the 2000 season, Rodriguez became a free agent. Suitors lined up in bunches to woo the megastar. A-Rod signed the largest deal in American sports at the time, a 10-year, $252 million deal. All of it guaranteed.
In the prime of his career, Rodriguez hit an astounding 156 homers over his three years with Texas. He also took home the first of three MVP awards in 2003.
New York Yankees Contract
After 2003, the Rangers looked to get rid of the rest of Rodriguez’s lucrative contract. They initially agreed to send him to the Boston Red Sox (of all teams) for Manny Ramirez, Jon Lester and cash, but the MLBPA vetoed the trade.
In February of 2004, the New York Yankees acquired Rodríguez in exchange for Alfonso Soriano and Joaquin Árias. The Rangers also ate $67 million of the remaining $179 million on A-Rod’s deal. Off to the Bronx he went.
He moved from shortstop to third base and won the AL MVP in 2005 and 2007, after which he was set to become a free agent. A-Rod stated multiple times that he wanted to wear the pinstripes for the rest of his career.
So in November of 2007 — after becoming the youngest player to ever hit 500 homers — he signed a 10-year, $275 million deal with the Yankees. It broke his own record for largest contract in sports history.
The third baseman retired in 2016 but finished his incredible career four homers shy of 700 and won his lone World Series in 2009. He was a three-time MVP, 14-time All-Star, 10-time Silver Slugger Award winner and two-time Gold Glove winner.
According to Spotrac, A-Rod’s career earnings equal just over $450 million. What’s rich is that the Yankees are still paying him and the Rangers will pay him through 2025. Forbes notes that he’ll have earned $480 million when it’s all said and done.
All the fame and money didn’t come without scandal, though. Rodriguez on multiple occasions was linked to steroids as part of the BALCO investigation and Biogenesis scandal. He was suspended for the entire 2014 season because of his involvement with Performance Enhancing Drugs.
Rodriguez compiled most of his net worth from the hefty checks MLB teams wrote him, but he has earned some extra cash from endorsement deals.
According to Business Insider, he made millions off numerous endorsement deals throughout his lifetime. Companies include Rolex, Mercedes-Benz, Topps, Rawlings, Credit Suisse, Vita Coco and Nike, which was at one point paying him $1 million per year. In 2016, he became a brand ambassador for audio company JBL along with NBA stars Stephen Curry and Damian Lillard.
Post-Playing Career, Business Endeavors and AROD Corp.
Citing his belief in a “Plan B” after playing baseball, A-Rod founded AROD Corp. in 2003 to help sustain his wealth throughout his life.
Today, AROD Corp. heavily invests in real estate and owns 8,500 apartments and manages 13,000 in 12 states. Rodriguez told Fortune in 2017 his company has deployed $125 million of equity. The company at one point owned a bunch of Honda and Mercedes-Benz dealerships, but later sold them.
Rodriguez’s investments include in the eSports universe and in gyms throughout Mexico and South Florida. He began building them in Mexico in 2011 alongside partner Mark Mastrov, who started 24 Hour Fitness and sold it for $1.7 billion.
In South Florida, they bought the rights to build UFC gyms and are working with gym company TruFusion (he first discovered it in Las Vegas), which is like OrangeTheory but a mix of hot yoga, boot camp and kettle bells.
You can also catch Rodriguez on TV. He’s served as an MLB analyst for Fox Sports and ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball, in addition to appearing on Shark Tank and hosting CNBC’s Back in the Game.
Jennifer Lopez’s Net Worth
Before Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez were an item, he was married to Cynthia Scurtis, whom he met in a Miami gym in the early 2000s. They had two kids together — Natasha Alexander and Ella Alexander — but split up in 2008.
A-Rod and J-Lo began dating in 2017 and thus the J-Rod nickname was born. He proposed to her with an impressive $5 million engagement ring (seriously, how many carats is that thing?) in March of 2019 and has showered her with other extravagant gifts.
According to Money.com, their combined net worth could approach $1 billion soon considering Lopez’s current net worth is about $400 million. J-Lo’s net worth total is actually slightly higher than Rodriguez’s estimated net worth.
What is Alex Rodriguez’s Net Worth?
Considering all his different sources of income, Rodriguez has racked up the dollars since coming out of a high school as a highly touted prospect.
So what is Alex Rodriguez’s net worth?
Cheat Sheet estimates Rodriguez is worth an eye-popping $350 million. That makes him easily the highest-paid professional baseball player in MLB history and one of the highest-paid athletes ever.
In an era where you hear about a different former professional athlete going bankrupt every day, it’s refreshing to see someone like A-Rod try to grow his wealth. Even if he was one of MLB’s most hated players during his heyday.
This article was originally published July 26, 2019.