DETROIT -- There is sure to be plenty of talk about how the Yankees should now pluck a trade partner from the other 29 big league clubs, suggesting Alex Rodriguez would benefit from a fresh start in a new uniform.
There are many potential stumbling blocks to that scenario, but perhaps none bigger than this: Rodriguez must approve any potential trade, and he said on Thursday that there is no way he will not be a Yankee in 2013.
"That's correct," Rodriguez said. "I will be back, and I have a lot to prove, and I will come back on a mission. ... I've never thought about going to another team. My focus is to stay here. Let's make that very, very clear."
With the Yankees' ouster from the American League Championship Series -- a four-game sweep at the hands of the Tigers -- Rodriguez concluded a frustrating and disappointing postseason that saw him finish 3-for-25.
Rodriguez was particularly vulnerable against right-handed pitching, going 0-for-18 with 12 strikeouts, to the point where Yankees manager Joe Girardi and general manager Brian Cashman agreed their chances of winning against a right-hander were better with Rodriguez on the bench.
Still, that doesn't mean that Cashman will be burning his cell phone minutes seeking takers for Rodriguez, who has five years and $114 million guaranteed remaining on his deal with the Yankees.
"I expect Alex to be here," Cashman said. "I expect Alex to come back and be our third baseman. Obviously, what just happened here, I just don't think it's reflective of Alex's abilities -- and I think that's true of a lot of the guys, not just Alex."
A three-time AL Most Valuable Player, Rodriguez was benched for three postseason games and pinch-hit for in three others. Rodriguez vowed that he would "get back to the drawing board" with his offseason training and come back in 2013 "with a vengeance."
"The thing with this whole situation, if I'm playing my game, Joe has no choice but to play me," Rodriguez said. "If I'm not playing my game, then he's open for options. I've got to look in the mirror."
Rodriguez said that he did not believe there was any clearing of the air necessary between Girardi, Cashman and himself.
"I know it was difficult for Joe, and I know that Joe didn't want to sit me," Rodriguez said. "It's something that's not easy for him. But again, if I do what I do, Joe doesn't have a choice. Neither does Cashman. Neither does anybody. If I am who I know I can be, then they'll worry about other guys. So my job is to work extremely hard, prepare and help be a force."
The ALCS was disrupted slightly with rumors of potential A-Rod trade discussions between the Yankees and Marlins, which were later revealed to have been light-hearted chatter between Yankees president Randy Levine and Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria this spring.
It is possible that the Yankees would entertain offers for Rodriguez, but they'd also need Rodriguez's approval for any deal to go through because of his full no-trade clause.
"I haven't thought about [waiving a no-trade clause]," Rodriguez said. "I love New York City. I plan to be here, and I plan to come back and be productive for this team for a while."
Cashman said that he does not anticipate seeking offers for Rodriguez.
"I wouldn't be willing to get rid of anybody unless it made sense for us," Cashman said. "I fully expect Alex to be here next year. Clearly, he hasn't done well against righties for whatever reason this particular year, but that can change. His history is different than that."
Rodriguez was also asked if he believes he has played his last game in a Yankees uniform and immediately rejected the suggestion.
"No, I don't think so," Rodriguez said. "I love everything about being a Yankee. The highs are very high and the lows are extremely low. There's no question the last few weeks have been extremely difficult, not only on me but all of my teammates."