It needed to be a closed-casket ceremony. With Miguel Cabrera, Max Scherzer and the rest of the Detroit Tigers presiding over the viewing and then dancing around the gravesite, the 2012 Yankees season finally, mercifully was laid to rest Thursday.
If only the offseason could be so cut and dry … and over.
Reality is, the drama didn’t even wait until the final out was recorded in a fate-sealing Game 4 of the ALCS at Comerica Park. The diva that is Alex Rodriguez and all the silliness that follows had superseded poor play by his teammates, making him the ultimate fall guy for the flaws of many.
The Yankees are old. They’re tired. They’re key players, save for Robinson Cano, are well past their prime … or injury riddled … or overrated – none more so than A-Rod.
Indeed, A-Rod would take a 3-for-3 on that scale, marking his best performance this postseason. While everyone with a fancy for the NY insignia and pinstripes seems to be caught up in the – gasp – flirt-and-sign session the third baseman had with an Australian swimsuit model and her friend during Game 1 back in the Big Apple, the problem with him is that he just isn’t that good anymore.
For all those potential suitors lining up and licking their chops, thinking they’re getting a Hall of Famer as the Yanks look to unload at least a portion of that $114 million remaining on that 10-year, $275 million albatross of a contract they signed Rodriguez to back in the fall of 2007, one thing needs to be said, and be emphasized:
BUYER BEWARE …
Seriously, does any team actually want to deal with the fiasco that is sure to follow this aging prima donna whose skills have fallen off a cliff quicker than those divers we’d see way back in the day on ABC’s Wide World of Sports?
With the wear of tear of, well, growing older and playing a professional sport, no longer with the help of any performance-enhancing drugs, A-Rod is a mere shell of what he once was – and that may be stretching it too much in his favor.
Any team thinking it’s bound to be celebrating the game’s new home-run king in the future might want to step back and look at the facts. Having broken down each of the last two seasons, Rodriguez hit 34 home runs combined in 221 games played between 2011 and ’12. At 37, can any team reasonably assume that production will improve?
He is 37 now, after all … and looking every bit of it, if not then some.
Miami heads the destination spot on the rumor mill. In terms of cachet it makes the most sense. A New York City native, A-Rod became a schoolboy legend in Florida’s “Magic City” once his family settled there. Being a name, a “kid coming home,” and a Dominican, he’d be a major draw for just about every soul from South Beach to Hialeah.
He just won’t be able to do much on the field.
The argument that he’s still one of the best at his position is based on anything but fact. Not only is he the second-best 3B in New York at this point, far, far behind the Mets’ David Wright, but he’s looking way up at the likes of Triple Crown winner Cabrera, David Freese of the Cardinals, Washington’s Ryan Zimmerman, Milwaukee’s Aramis Ramirez, Adrian Beltre of the Rangers, San Diego’s Chase Headley, Pittsburgh’s Pedro Alvarez and Tampa Bay’s Evan Longaria. Even no-names such as Seattle’s Kyle Seager and Colorado’s Jordan Pacheco certainly have better upsides now, as does Boston’s Wes Middlebrooks.
If you want to be honest about it, bringing Chipper Jones out of retirement following the year he had at age 40 would seem a lot more promising … if you were looking for more positive results.
He, along with every other name mentioned above and a few more not mentioned, had better seasons than A-Rod did in 2012.
Plus, if you’re looking for anything beyond April to September output, A-Rod ain’t your guy. Even with his monstrous 2009 postseason (.365, six homers, 18 RBIs, 15 runs scored in 15 games) that sparked another World Series title for the Yankees, he hit a meager .244 with 59 whiffs in 221 at-bats in 60 career playoff games with them. His 3-for-25, 0-RBI effort in seven games this fall seems a fitting farewell to his days in the Bronx.
Just a thought for any GM out there: If you want to help your team, on the field, forget the name, don’t be fooled by the 80-percent-off price tag and save yourself a few prospects.
He’s not worth the investment, even a minimal one.