“If you think Cameron Diaz, for example, is keeping Alex Rodriguez from being ready for the 2011 season, you are wrong,” insists the New York Post’s Joel Sherman, who aside from being sickened by Hank Aaron’s recent rebuke of the Yankees’ third baseman, takes great umbrage at he way A-Rod’s “history of saying and doing dumb things apparently continues to trump all else; continues to make him the easiest target in the game.” In perhaps the greatest scoop since the publication of The Pentagon Papers, Sherman reveals the next issue of ESPN The Magazine features further uncredited trashing of Rodriguez.

In the regular Player X segment, a copy of which I obtained before publication, the anonymous player decides to view the negotiation breakdown between Albert Pujols and the Cardinals through the A-Rod prism. He writes: “Every guy I know in MLB would rather have Pujols hitting on his side than Alex Rodriguez, so I think Camp Albert has every right to want more money than Rodriguez makes. A-Rod is overpaid. Sure, he plays third, a more premium position on defense than first, but even if they played the same spot, I’d take Pujols.

“Everything he does at the plate he does well. His career numbers trump Hank Aaron’s at this stage, and his supporting cast is nowhere near A-Rod’s. Rodriguez’s numbers, on the other hand, are inflated. He’s mostly played in smaller ballparks or been surrounded by hitters so good he can just pound away.” OK, let’s see if I get this argument: Pujols is better than A-Rod. Is there anyone arguing the contrary? Is there a shame to being an inferior player to Pujols? Heck, Player X points out that Pujols’ numbers trump Aaron’s. Should we follow by lambasting Aaron’s career for not being as good as Pujols’. Should Kobe Bryant be ashamed of not being Michael Jordan?

If the point is that Pujols deserves more money, fine, I don’t think Rodriguez has said publicly that Pujols shouldn’t make more. If you have trouble with how much Rodriguez is paid, you might want to question the Yankees’ sanity for giving it rather than A-Rod’s motives for asking.