One of the very unpleasant things, besides knowing how much we owe Alex Rodriguez on a yearly basis, is knowing how much he struggles come the postseason. In the past few years, A-Rod’s production has certainly been on a downward trend and with the New York Yankees giving the rest of the 2012 season all they have, they only have a small margin of error. As we’ve seen from A-Rod before, his October play isn’t some of the best and if the Yankees even want to attempt to get into the playoffs, let alone win the ALDS, his production will have to finally awaken.
For A-Rod, his inconsistency has been a problem in the past. Even this year, A-Rod has a lot of trouble batting with runners on as he’s batting .240 in those scenarios. In 2012, he’s hitting .219 with runners in scoring position, whereas in 2011, he batted .305 in those opportunities. Now while Alex did play only 99 games in 2011, he’s only played in 110 this season, and with only a week and a half left in the season, he’s not missing 2011’s total by much. His numbers have been on a downward trend as this season he has a slash line of .273/.350/.497 which are all below last year.
What also is unappealing about Rodriguez is that he’s a rally killer. He’s hit into 13 double plays in 2012, which ties 2011. Yankee wise, only Derek Jeter has hit into more double plays with 21, but at least Jeter is a consistent contact hitter. A-Rod’s also only hit four sacrifice fly balls this season so that reinforces the fact that hitting with runners on is not his strong suit anymore. He’s less clutch than he used to be and he’s certainly on the downward spiral in his career. The only positive for him is the fact that he’s stolen 13 bases this season and has only been caught once.
Now folks, that’s just the regular season. Looking at 2010 and 2011 in October, A-Rod looked like a completely different player, and I don’t say that in a good way. In the 2010 postseason, which unfortunately saw our demise in the ALCS, A-Rod had a whopping .219 batting average. He also struck out six times and only got seven hits. That’s absolutely awful when you realize that’s through the span of the ALDS and ALCS. In 2011, A-Rod wasn’t any better, as he had an abysmal .111 average and also struck out six times in 18 at-bats.
When A-Rod was out in July and August, Eric Chavez filled in rather nicely at third. The unfortunate thing for Chavez, however, is that he has a body that I sometimes think is made of glass. He can’t play every single day, but when he does, he provides consistent production and has a decent glove at that. Is Chavez going to be the everyday third baseman if we make it into October? No, but he should be considered for some starts. Chavez is batting a nice .280 in 2012 with 13 home runs and 33 RBIs. While September has been a rather rough month for him, he did bat .365 in August.
Chavez is by no means a perfect solution for the postseason, but he has had some exposure to October baseball. Like A-Rod, Chavez has had his struggles in the postseason, so it may be a back and forth thing for Joe Girardi. Play A-Rod one day, play Chavez the next. It’s not perfect, but Chavez’s bat needs to be somewhere in that line-up if the Yankees want to seriously contend. Just remembering how we lost last season in the ALDS to the Detroit Tigers as A-Rod made the final out by striking out still infuriates me.
A-Rod is not a bad player at all and this is far from a knock towards him. What this is, however, is showing that his career is on the decline. It may not be as apparent at first glance, but watching him play and lose a lot of the clutch ability he once had, hurts and angers us as fans. He’s an expensive player and that’s something the Yankees knew when they signed him. So while A-Rod makes his $30 million this year, we as Yankee fans are literally seeing one of the most questionable deals in our history fall apart.