Alex Rodriguez surprised us all with his successful 2015 season. He hit 33 homers and drove in 86 runs. For a 39-year-old with two surgically replaced hips coming off his full-year PED suspension, that was pretty great.
As it turns out, maybe that was A-Rod’s last hurrah.
Rodriguez has struggled mightily this season, hitting just .229 with eight homers and an OPS that’s down nearly 200 points. So the Yankees, currently 37-38 and fighting for relevancy in the American League as the trade-deadline approaches, have decided to reduce his role.
According to general manager Brian Cashman, the Yanks will have A-Rod on the bench most days, like they have the past two games. Instead of being their full-time DH, he’s now their platoon DH, meaning he’ll only start against left-handed pitchers. The Yankees have faced right-handers in two-thirds of their games this season, so you can figure out what that means for A-Rod’s likelihood of at-bats.
So, yes, the Yankees are now paying A-Rod $20 million to DH every few days. Prepare your punchlines. Cashman told reporters the decision came after he asked the coaching staff, “How can we be better?” This was the answer, per the New York Post:
“The suggestions unilaterally with the way Alex has gone, with a [.584] OPS against right-handed pitching, maybe we should start taking at-bats from him and improve defense in right [field] and keep Carlos [Beltran] fresh,” Cashman said before Monday’s game. “[It’s] all about trying to find mojo offensively, which we are lacking.
“We’re trying to get this 2016 going. We’re struggling. It’s almost July. … We’re searching. Is this going to be something that lasts? I don’t know yet.”
As you can imagine, being that he’s A-Rod and this is New York, the tabloids pulled no punches.
. @nypost headlines:
Designated Sitter pic.twitter.com/F5t1cllYRy
— NYY Gossip (@NYY_Gossip) June 28, 2016
It’s not hard to imagine this as the beginning of the end for A-Rod — at least performance-wise, the Yankees are still on the hook for another $20 million next season.
He’ll be 41 next month and he already can’t play the field. So if he’s not only half a hitter, then what? Then he cashes those checks for the next year and a half, as the complaints about him being a “designated sitter” just get louder.
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