While Alex Rodriguez provided a great comeback story one year ago, he is nothing but a detrimental clog on a current New York Yankees roster striving to contend.
Anything involving Alex Rodriguez is a headline. When the New York Yankees bench him, it becomes a circus.
With that said, this time it does not have to be. The New York Yankees have a situation on their hands with an aging superstar and with that comes the opportunity to resolve it quick and peacefully rather than in dramatically dragged out fashion.
The Yanks are about to head to a National League park with essentially a 23-man roster.
With the productive Carlos Beltran ailing, the club would be willing to deal with a one clogged roster spot. On the other hand, they have a perfectly healthy A-Rod who cannot run and cannot field. As of late, he cannot hit either.
It is time to send Rodriguez and his .219/.257/.382 slash packing. Having entered the month of July, the sample size is large enough by now. In a week and a half the all-star festivities will be in full swing.
For a full-time DH, and full-time in the truest sense of word, he is simply not getting the job done. He brings absolutely no additional value to a roster other than his bat, and right now he lacks that as well.
Without A-Rod, the Yankees become substantially more flexible. With him they remain as stiff as his 40-year-old legs.
This is not four years ago. If the Yanks had the ability to let him loose when he was unproductive in the 2012 season, or in the midst of steroid allegations in 2013, they would have. They were simply tied up in too much of a financial commitment.
2017 was the magical year when the brutal contract would come to an end, and it seemed centuries away. However, the approximate $30 million the Yankees still owe Rodriguez is a walk in the park at this point.
The money would be more well spent with him off the roster as opposed to being on it.
That remaining portion would not be burned, it would symbolize something greater than money thrown at the aging slugger.
It would symbolize a drive towards the future combined with the desire to win now. With Beltran receiving the majority of DH time, he would be handed the greatest opportunity to stay on his 39 homer, 110 RBI pace. While it would help him, he would not be entitled to all of the DH at-bats.
Sliding Beltran back into right field once or twice a week would mean keeping Mark Teixeira healthy, giving Brian McCann extra at-bats, giving valuable and far more consistent playing time to Aaron Hicks, and the inevitable summoning of the red-hot Aaron Judge from Triple-A Scranton.
If Judge’s torrent power was to translate to the bigs, a formula would be in place for instant team success.
All of this would be possible with Rodriguez off the roster. With him residing on the 25-man, absolutely none of it is. Even keeping him on the bench hampers flexibility as he would be detrimental to offensive depth.
Simply put: the move makes sense.
The Yankee organization no longer owes A-Rod. In what has clearly been a rough relationship between the two sides within the last five years, Hal Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman were generous enough to give him another undeserved chance last year.
Sure, he seized the opportunity. He was one of the main reasons the Yankees won 87 games and appeared in the postseason for a one-game stint. For that, both sides are positioned to move on.
His 33 homer, 86 RBI output in an incredible comeback year was probably his last hurrah, and now it is no longer the name nor the storylines that can get in the organization’s way.
Let him collect his 700th big league home run elsewhere. As a matter of fact, let him have a revitalization elsewhere.
Despite all of the sideshow, his 11-plus year tenure in the Bronx has been productive and meaningful. With that said, it has been worn out.
All things, good or bad, must come to an end. If the franchise truly wants to turn a recent hint of success into contention in 2016 while seeing what they have in store for years to come, withdrawing from a shaky marriage that has lasted over a decade is not only the best option, it is the only option.
Although the layover will be massive, it is inevitable. Now is the time to get that out of the way, move on, and ultimately make a hard fought drive towards the postseason.
Now is the time, and executing the task in a timely manner remains on the front office’s plate.