From arguably the greatest player of all time to being yanked for pinch hitters in two consecutive playoff games. From hanging out shirtless in central park to hanging out at the dugout railing watching Raul Ibanez and Eric Chavez take his spot in the batter’s box.
And now, to watching the fifth and deciding game of the ALDS agaisnt the Orioles from the bench. With Yankee manager Joe Girardi opting to sit A-Rod in tonight's series finale, the $29 millon man will be limited to possible pinch hitting duty (no doubt only if a lefty enters the game for Baltimore). Bottom line: he'll collect about $173,000 to root on his teammates Friday night.
While it's normal to expect even great players to slow down with age, the decline of Alex Rodriguez has been pretty rapid, and a little bit shocking. But of course the Yankees got what they bargained for when co-owner Hank Steinbrenner caved in the wake of A-Rod’s decision to opt out of his contract after the 2007 season by granting him a new ten-year, $250 million deal, one that doesn’t expire until Rodriguez is 42.
Ok, let’s be completely fair. A-Rod did help the Yankees to a 2009 World Series championship with 30 homers, 100 RBI, and a .933 OPS. But it was an expensive title, with the payments stretched out for years. Over the past three seasons, Rodriguez’s batting average hasn’t topped .276 . After putting up good power numbers in 2010 (30 HR; 125 RBI), he’s dropped to a combined 34 homers and 119 RBI over the past two seasons, during which he was paid –are you ready? - $61 million.
Periodic injuries and a slowing bat (A-Rod is 0-for-12 with nine strikeouts in this year’s ALDS) have taken their toll. Rodriguez’s .783 OPS and 57 RBI this year were career lows for a full season. Yet he collected $29 million for his efforts. The $1.6 million the Yankees paid A-Rod for each of his 18 homers is more then three times what the Oakland A's paid outfielder Josh Reddick - who went deep 32 times this year - for the full season.
Can Rodriguez rebound? Possibly, sure. But with his 38th birthday looming in mid-season 2013, don’t count on it. Here are the various breakdowns of the Yankees’ A-Rod-related costs in 2012:
-For each time he took the field: $237,705
-For each full game he played on offense and defense: $381,579
-For each hit: $230,159
-For each extra-base hit: $805,556
-For each base advanced: $145,729
-For each homer: $1.6 million
-For each run scored: $381,892
-For watching Raul Ibanez homer in his place in a playoff game: $19,295 (an inning's salary)
-For watching Eric Chavez line out in his place in a playoff game: $19,295
-For sitting out the fifth and deciding game of the ALDS agaisnt the Orioles: $173,653