Yankees senior vice president and general manager Brian Cashman is taking the never-say-never approach with Alex Rodriguez.
If someone calls asking about A-Rod, Cashman will listen, but he's adamant that trading the third baseman is a long shot.
"It's not like I'm going to hang phones up on anybody who wants to make any overtures about anything," Cashman said during an ESPN Radio interview Sunday. "You're talking about realistic stuff and unrealistic stuff. I don't think it's realistic at all for us to be moving forward with anything but Alex Rodriguez at third base.
"He's still an above-average third baseman. ... That means despite the contract that we had committed to him, that he's an asset at this stage still. I don't see us doing anything there. I don't anticipate it. If someone wants to make phone calls, we're more than willing to do all that stuff with any of our players, and that's fine. You can run into something that way."
A-Rod's 3-for-25 postseason performance brought him to the bench by the time the Yankees were swept by the Tigers in the American League Championship Series. Heading into 2013, he's got five years and $114 million left on his contract -- superstar money for a player who, at 37, Cashman acknowledges isn't what he once was.
"Do I expect him to return to the MVP-caliber-type Alex Rodriguez? No," Cashman said. "Obviously you decline with age, and he's getting up there in his age. ... So no, that would be very unrealistic to think as well. But despite the age where he's at, he's still an above-average player at that position."
Despite the rumors that surfaced during the postseason, Rodriguez has made it clear that he wants to right things in New York, not elsewhere. He can block any trade.
"I will be back, and I have a lot to prove, and I will come back on a mission," Rodriguez said Thursday. "I've never thought about going to another team. My focus is to stay here. Let's make that very, very clear."
Evan Drellich is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @EvanDrellich. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.