George Steinbrenner made a lot of dumb trades and completed more than a few stupid free agent signings during his reign, but his son Hank made quite a doozy as well.
There have been very few baseball players in major league history who have maintained a high level of play into their late thirties. Certainly not many once they reach the age of forty.
While Alex Rodriguez was coming off an outstanding year in 2007 (although one perhaps fueled by steroids) he would be turning 32 the following season. To give any 32 year old a ten year guaranteed contract, even someone with solid stats like Rodriguez had, is foolish. How can any player be expected to have a monster season at age 38 or 39? It's rare. The most Hank Steinbrenner should have offered is six years. If Rodriguez was still going strong at that point they could have easily offered him another contract.
Now the Yankees are saddled with a huge contract that they will have to pay off, unless Rodriguez mercifully retires. And they still have no one to play third base.
Hank Steinbrenner, who spent one month in the late 1980's working for his father in the Yankees' front office before developing a nervous tick in one of his eyes, wasn't exactly the right person to decide on what contract to offer Rodriguez. So the team has no one to blame for this mess besides themselves. I guess that one month working with Dad didn't result in any new learning. The Yanks would have been better off if Hank had kept working at the family horse farm. Unfortunately for Yankee fans Hank and his brother Hal got involved in the Yankees' baseball business after their father developed dementia, and was unable to manage things as he had before - and unable to give anyone nervous ticks again.