New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez has been invisible since the MLB All-Star break. It’s something this team can’t overcome.
By Robby Sabo
There was once an easy way to look at Alex Rodriguez. The idea to cast one of the greatest right-handed MLB hitters of all-time as a villain, not hero. A black eye on the game, not marvel.
It was much a simpler time which people could wrap their heads around.
A time that ended early during the New York Yankees 2015 campaign due to his phenomenal production.
By the time mid-May rolled around, a new A-Rod was reinvented. Some might say an A-Rod that had people scratching their heads; a complicated A-Rod due to the fact he was producing and making all the right moves on and off the field.
Rodriguez has remarkably smashed his way to 24 home runs and 63 runs batted in through 108 healthy games. Health and consistency are the true accomplishments, for this is a man who has only participated in 265 games over the last three seasons combined (suspension not included).
This unforeseen rejuvenated A-Rod, coupled with a monster season from Mark Teixeira, made up two spots of a Yankees lineup that has obliterated the baseball to the tune of 551 runs and 256 home runs (both rank second in MLB).
Suddenly, as swiftly as the hero version of A-Rod took center stage, is as quickly as the slumping Rodriguez has reared its ugly head.
For the month of August the Yankees No. 3 hitter has put up a less than stellar .143 batting average, zero home runs and just two runs batted in. The guy has been miserable since the all-star break. There’s no way around it.
He hasn’t hit a home run since July 27 at Texas.
The first alarming question is why has he drastically fallen so fast? Injury is the first concern. We all know Rodriguez’s chronic hip issues will always be there. It’s been a curse in the Yankees world for a while now. But at 40-years of age, his body could have a number of nagging issues to deal with.
This is now August – the dog days of summer. There’s never been any guarantee he’d hold up the entire season.
In fact, Brian Cashman not doing anything drastic at the trade deadline, taking into consideration the extremely surprising production from A-Rod and Tex wouldn’t last forever, turns out to be a great move.
His slump means so much more to the Yankees 2015 hopes than just finding out why he’s slipping late in the year.
It now means this pleasant surprise of a season – which was fueled by the reinvention of A-Rod and Tex – will spiral downhill fast if the former cannot figure it out. The club has already once lost the AL East lead to the new-look Toronto Blue Jays, and it’s pretty much official that they’re not going anywhere anytime soon.
Joe Girardi’s lineup drastically changes if Rodriguez cannot be the No. 3 hitter. It’ll mean a forced action of elevating Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran or even Teixeira to move up a spot into that role.
New York absolutely cannot handle a less than productive Rodriguez.
It’s why many baseball pundits didn’t have the Yanks doing much this season. Back in Spring Training nobody could imagine Rodriguez putting up this type of production. And not just production, hitting bombs left and right on a daily basis (up until the last month of play).
Unfortunately there are no moves left to make. It’s A-Rod or bust. Without Rodriguez’s on-field play, the identity of the 2015 Yankees leaves the clubhouse with him.
Only time will tell if he has one final pennant race in him.
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