It’s been well over three years now since New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez admitted to using Performance Enhancing Drugs during his tenure with the Texas Rangers. Since his admission there has been a decline in both his heath and production. In each of the seasons since this revelation was made his numbers have slipped in every major offensive statistical category as well as in games played and plate appearances. Could this all be related to one another or is this just a situation where age and attrition are catching up to a player? Who knows, but one thing that is certain is the fact that Alex Rodriguez is no longer a middle of the lineup type of hitter.
The writing is on the wall, and manager Joe Girardi needs to read it like the ancient Egyptians use to read hieroglyphics to determine their paths going forward on journeys. Otherwise, the Yankees postseason excursion could come to an abrupt end sooner then many in the Bronx want it to.
Numbers don’t lie unless a player is using something to enhance those stats, but just take a look at the decline which A-Rod has gone through over the past three regular seasons:
2010: .270, 30 HR, 125 RBI, 74 R, 141 H, 29 doubles, 59 BB, 98 K, .847 OPS and 3.9 WAR in 137 games
2011: .276, 16 HR, 62 RBI, 67 R, 103 H, 21 doubles, 47 BB, 80 K, .823 OPS and 3.7 WAR in 99 games
2012: .272, 18 HR, 57 RBI, 74 R, 126 H, 17 doubles, 51 BB, 116 K, .783 OPS and 2.0 WAR in 122 games
Now take a look at his past four postseasons including the miraculous postseason journey he had in 2009 when he was the key cog in the Yankees winning their 27th World Series and the two games the Yankees have played so far in 2012:
2009: .365 (19-59), 6 HR, 18 RBI, 15 R, 5 doubles, 12 BB, 13 K and 1.308 OPS
2010: .219 (7-32), 0 HR, 3 RBI, 5 R, 1 double, 6 K and .597 OPS
2011: .111 (2-18), 0 HR, 3 RBI, 6 K and .372 OPS
2012: .111 (1-9), 0 HR, R, 5 K and .311 OPS
There is a huge difference between a slight decline and a huge drop off and Rodriguez had been experiencing the latter for quite some time now. If Girardi can’t see that then maybe he doesn’t need to managing a roster with a yearly payroll near $200 million and an expectancy to win the World Series each and every year. Moving Rodriguez down in the lineup during the postseason is unprecedented. Former Yankees skipper Joe Torre did it in the 2006 ALDS versus the Detroit Tigers and this occurred when Rodriguez was still a legitimate big league slugger. If Mr. T (as Derek Jeter affectionately called him for years) could do it then why can’t Girardi do the same especially considering Rodriguez is no where near the force in lineup which he used to be.
Here is what I feel the Yankees Lineup should resemble in game three of the ALDS (and beyond) versus the Baltimore Orioles:
1) SS Derek Jeter
2) LF Ichiro Suzki
3) 2B Robinson Cano
4) 1B Mark Teixeira
5) RF Nick Swisher
6) CF Curtis Granderson
7) 3B Alex Rodriguez
8) C Russell Martin
9) Who ever the DH will be or if you DH Rodriguez then have Eric Chavez play third and hit here.
Now is the time for Girardi to make this decision before it’s too late. The Orioles are a hungry team who would love nothing more than to end the Yanks postseason run here and now. If Girardi doesn’t make this move before tonight’s game then he along with millions of angry New Yorkers as well as blood thirsty journalists will be second guessing his lack of a decision for nearly six months during the remainder of the postseason until the beginning of the 2013 campaign.