Quickly becoming an afterthought, Alex Rodriguez will spend some quality time with the bench on his 41st birthday.
Yes, it appears as if Father Time has defeated Alex Rodriguez without giving the legendary slugger a fighting chance. Substantial struggles coupled with a detrimental injury left A-Rod battling with the mendoza line for the duration of the first half, and without getting a true everyday chance to right the ship, the New York Yankees had already moved on.
Now, the deteriorating box office name is frozen at 696 career home runs with no role on a 25-man roster which appears to be meshing for the first time in 2016.
Not only that, but he gets the distinct honor of spending his 41st birthday glued to the bench in the third base dugout. For the fifth straight game, Joe Girardi has opted against giving a man with a dismal .206/.256/.364 slash four at-bats in a pivotal place in the lineup — cleanup and designated hitter.
Happy birthday, @AROD. You get (another) day off! https://t.co/eNIzz17jrQ
— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) July 27, 2016
After all, the stakes are at an all-time high for a team still trying to escape the horrors of a 9-17 start. 43-31 (.581) since that point, the Yankees remain 4.5 games back in the wild card chase despite yielding a 94-win pace over the span.
Sure, A-Rod proved he could combat his age and worrisome hips with a renaissance campaign in 2015. Coming off an 162-game suspension, he was able to belt 33 homers while humbling himself and restoring his image to an extent.
However, time moves on, roles drastically change, circumstances become present, and the results simply do not roll over. Whether it is a lack of chance or merely a lack of leftover ability that has kept Rodriguez in a season-long slump, he is no longer of use to the team.
Purely redundant at this point: he cannot run, he cannot field, and, now, he cannot hit. Simply put, the three-time AL MVP is a non-factor.
While the organization refuses to pull the plug on his tenure in the Bronx, they have a kind yet more painful way of displaying his worth. The methodology, which has taken center stage over the past month, is posting a lineup card each and every day with his name nowhere to be found.
Happy birthday, A-Rod. Unfortunate circumstances require opposing players to make their way into the Yankee dugout in order to wish him well.