2013 MLB Playoff Hunt: Should Alex Rodriguez be a Forgotten Man?

Alex Rodriguez is one of the all time greats. He won the AL MVP Award in 2003, 2005, and 2007. He was recently sidelined with a quad strain after completing a 20-game minor league rehabilitation assignment, and now the Yanks won’t let him play. Is it part of some insane plot? Would the Yankees hold back A-Rod to collect insurance money? Fans aren’t sure…

Let’s look at what the Yankees have gotten out of third base so far this season: .220/.283/.294. It’s fair to say the Yankees are going to need an upgrade to make the playoffs. They could trade for Michael Young or Chase Headley and get the same kind of production that they would out of A-Rod, but they’d have to give up prospects to make that happen. Their best choice is to use A-Rod. Why does it matter that he’s having his quad looked at?

I’m glad you asked.

The Yankees owe Alex $86 million dollars between 2014 and 2017. If he can’t play because of an injury, the Yankees can collect 75%-100% of the money owed from the insurance company. And the final piece of the puzzle is a potential suspension from MLB for using performance enhancing drugs, which would mean A-Rod doesn’t get paid.

Keeping Alex off the field strengthens the Yankees case for collecting insurance money. It also helps Alex because if placed on the PUP list then he still gets paid even if he’s suspended. So there’s plenty of reason to think their best interest is to keep Alex off the field… except… they need to win baseball games!

Derek Jeter

Derek Jeter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When faced with a similar situation at shortstop, the Yankees chose to rush Derek Jeter back and had him playing big league games before his rehab was finished. A-Rod is a better hitter than Jeter; why didn’t the Yankees bring him back when they brought back Jeter? If the Yankees are serious about A-Rod, why do they keep kicking the tires on Michael Young and Chase Headley? There aren’t any rumors of them chasing shortstops to replace Jeter.

Brian Cashman scolded Alex like a red-headed stepchild for tweeting that he was ready to play baseball again. All of this behind-the-scenes action shows the Yankees front office has a distaste for A-Rod. And the factor limiting his return to the field is Brian Cashman’s job security. The more secure Cashman’s job, the less likely A-Rod plays.

And here’s where I list complaints against Brian Cashman…

Vernon Wells, Travis Hafner, Jason Giambi, Bobby Abreu, Kei Igawa, Javier Vazquez, Kevin Brown, Carlos Pena, Tyler Clippard, Jaret Wright, Carl Pavano, Kei Igawa and the list goes on… Eric Chavez. Chavez is hitting .299/.344/.524 for Arizona this season and yeah he’s a third basemen. Yes he’s making $3 million dollars on a one-year contract. Yes he played for the Yankees last season.

Don’t believe the crap about the Yankees not wanting A-Rod healthy. He’s one of the men (Derek Jeter is the other) who could save Brian Cashman’s job.

Photo credit: drewlitton.com

Photo credit: drewlitton.com