Alex Rodriguez shouldn’t have sold his home for $30 million in Miami this past Friday. He should have packed up his belongings, left New York and headed straight for South Beach. He could have kept his $29 million salary for 2013 as a parting gift. After all, this New York Yankees team doesn’t seem to be missing him.
In fact, this edition of the Bronx Bombers is the anti A-Rods, a collection of under appreciated players who do nothing other than come up with big hits. Saturday’s come-from-behind victory against the Tampa Bay Rays highlighted the gritty nature of this team. Down 3-1 in the ninth with two outs and nobody on, the Yankees staged a comeback against closer Fernando Rodney. Lyle Overbay worked a walk, stole second and scored on an excuse me double by Brennan Boesch. Brett Gardner then fell behind in the count before staying back on a change-up and delivering the game-tying single into center field. It was the kind of situation Rodriguez has failed to come through in time and again for the Yankees over the last three years.
Gardner’s single only tied the game, however. Ivan Nova worked himself into trouble in the bottom of the 10th by loading the bases with only one out. He was able to bear down, getting a strikeout and a ground out to escape the jam. That set the stage for Overbay to once again reward GM Brian Cashman for signing him this offseason. He blasted a two-out home run to give the Yankees a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. It was perhaps the best win on the year for the Yankees — a year that has been defined by the fortitude of the players in pinstripes.
It’s almost been refreshing not having Rodriguez in the line-up. There’s been no one linked to steroids, or shouting at players as they tried to catch and infield pop. No Yankee has slapped the glove of an opposing pitcher trying to tag him, or lied on 60 Minutes. And certainly no Yankee has sent a baseball with a message to girls in the stands in an attempt to get their phone numbers. It’s been relatively drama free, and it can’t be a coincidence.
The Yankees could tolerate his behavior while he was still producing, but since he’s stopped doing that, maybe they’ll stop defending him too. Quite simply, he’s been atrocious in his last three postseasons. His highest batting average in any of his last four postseason series is .190. Mario Mendoza thinks that’s unacceptable. Since winning the World Series in 2009, his combined batting average in three postseasons is .160 … with zero home runs. Mr. October he is not.
The Yankees don’t need him back. But at some point this year, he’ll carry his bags and his baggage into the Yankee locker room, sending someone who contributed to the Yankees incredible start back to the minors. It could be Overbay or perhaps Jayson Nix. But regardless of who it is, the chemistry of the Yankee clubhouse will be changed.
Hopefully this time off has changed him and made him more aware of his baseball mortality. The days of being the best baseball player on the planet are long gone, replaced by injuries and innuendo. He might reinvent himself and perform well in the second half of the season, but ask yourself this Yankee fans: In October, with the game on the line, do you want Rodriguez batting in a clutch situation?
Or would you rather have him watching it from a $30 million dollar house in Miami?