A-Rod’s Decline Could Mean Less Playing Time
There is no question that a healthy Alex Rodriguez will likely help the Yankees in some form or another but having him in the every day lineup would likely hurt them.
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He’s set to turn 40-years-old on July 27th and is coming off of a season long suspension for using Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs.) Also, Rodriguez hasn’t played in more than 130 games since 2010 and his production has progressively decreased since then.
In 2010 Rodriguez was still a powerful hitter and a half-decent third baseman. He hit .270/.341/.506 while swatting 30 home runs and driving in 125 in 137 games. This was his final elite year as injuries and declining skills have turned this once feared hitter into an afterthought.
The next year, he was limited to only 99 games and 16 home runs, though his overall numbers remained solid (62 RBIs with an .823 OPS.)
In 2012 he managed to suit up for 122 games, but his power continued to decrease as he hit only 18 home runs and 17 doubles while driving in an abysmal 57 runs. His OPS also dipped below .800 (.783) for the first time since 1995.
He spent most of the 2013 season recovering from injuries while the Biogenesis scandal was continuing to unfold. At around the mid-season mark, commissioner Bud Selig announced that Rodriguez would be banned for the rest of the season as well as 2014.
He appealed his suspension which allowed him to appear in 44 games. The results weren’t pretty.
In those games he hit only .244 with 7 home runs and 7 doubles. His OPS continued to plummet (.771) as well.
The 2010 season also marked the beginning of an increased strikeout rate for Rodriguez. That year he struck out 16.5% of the time. This number continued to climb and in 2013 it reached 23.8%. This is a sign that his bat speed isn’t what it once was.
Though this wasn’t vintage A-Rod, he still remained a solid hitter who could produce. A .771 OPS is well above average and he did manage to hit 7 home runs in a very small number of games.
He should remain a part-time player who can DH or fill in at first base for Mark Teixeira (who’s also quite injury-prone.) This way he isn’t as likely to get hurt or wear down and can still help the team.