Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 7/18/13
Alex Rodriguez, who leads the league in Headlines Earned despite his season-long absence from the field, is set to return to the Yankees on Monday. Hopefully for the Bombers, the stories he inspires in the second-half will pertain to baseball. A-Rod returns to the Yankees lineup on Monday.   There, already, is an indication of A-Rod’s waning ability. A piece about an 0-37 slide at the plate would come as a breath of fresh air to the toxic reports of playoff flirtation, managerial strife and – gulp – steroid use. Fair to say, such coverage would come as a relief. If this A-Rod was placed on a Yankee club circa 2009, the team brass could treat him the way a company’s retiring owner might treat his succeeding son. You aren’t very good at this job, but do your part and stay out of trouble. The heavy-hitting Yankee teams of years past had the depth to compensate for a declining slugger. But here’s the thing: the hollow-hitting Yankee team of this year doesn’t. The batting order has more holes in it than a spaghetti strainer. As the offense is constructed right now, there is one bat that carries game-changing pop. Outside of Robinson Cano, the Yankee hitters don’t scare a hermit crab. They have found ways to manufacture (enough) runs, but there is still little reason to believe that, on any given night, Cano and Co. won’t get shut out. So like it or not, the Yankees need A-Rod. And they need the A-Rod of Old, not the A-Rod of Old Age. That’s a scary thought when you consider the 37-year-old third baseman is two years removed from knee surgery and just six months removed from hip surgery. But those dire overtones can be soothed by sizing up the shoes he needs to fill. Suffice to say, he’s not coming in for Wade Boggs. In A-Rod’s absence, a six-player platoon has filled his spot at third base. Most recently duties have fallen to Luis Cruz, but for much of the summer David Adams got the call. Before him, it was Jayson Nix’s job and before him, Kevin Youkilis’. Moonlighters have also included Chris Nelson and Alberto Gonzalez. If there has been a revolving door at shortstop, then at third base there has been a Fenway Park turnstile. Together, the aforementioned six players have hit .225 on the season, with four homeruns and 25 RBI. Their on-base-percentage is lower than Cano’s batting average. Their slugging percentage, ditto. Their OPS – the aggregate of the former two stats – is so low the six grown men have tried hiding it in a closet. In 342 at-bats, the contingent at third has produced just 18 extra-base hits, and rapped into more double plays than any other positional unit on the team. The outfit at shortstop comes close, but the third basemen take the cake as the least productive hitters on this team. Needless to say, A-Rod doesn’t need to be Superman to give the Yankees a lift. The A-Rod of Old the Yankees need is not the one that played for the Rangers, and not even the one that played for Joe Torre. It’s the one that played the past three years for Joe Girardi. That A-Rod – his numbers averaged over a 162-game season – was a .273 hitter good for 28 homeruns and 107 RBI. The latter two statistics are skewed a bit by his 30-homerun, 125-RBI campaign in 2010, but with A-Rod’s 2013 odometer set to zero, one would think he has enough energy to turn back the clock for two months. 67 games remain in this season, a little over 40 percent of the full 162-game slate. If we prorate A-Rod’s 2010-2012 averages over 64 games (to account for a few days off), his numbers look like this: .273, 11 homeruns, 42 RBI. It might not seem like a ton of damage to come, but compared to the production of his replacements, it’s the early signs of a stage-5 hurricane. Even if we remove 2010 from the equation, 2011-2012 A-Rod breaks down like this: .274/25/88. Prorated over 64 games, that’s 10 home runs and 35 RBI, or about quadruple the homeruns and double the RBI the current platoon could be expected to provide. Given that A-Rod is likely to hit behind Robinson Cano, that jump in homeruns is especially important. If he looms as a power threat with Cano at the plate, opposing pitchers will be more inclined to attack the Yankees’ best hitter, something he has rarely experienced this year. With little protection behind him, Cano has been forced to take 48 walks this season, and to see Cano walking freely to first is to see Jamie Moyer come over the plate. He’d rather swing. A-Rod, simply by standing on deck, can put the bat back in his hands. But he must stay healthy, a qualifier not to be taken lightly for this A-Rod and this Yankees team. The club’s fortunes now rest heavily on a surgically-repaired hip, a surgically-repaired knee and a thinning bat. A scary thought, indeed. But a scarier thought is what the Yankees would do without him.

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Nets’ Jeremy Lin out for season with ruptured patella tendon

‘The Simpsons’ to air ‘comedic’ documentary for ‘Homer at the Bat’

Parsons fires back at ‘tasteless’ Grizzlies fans over booing

Giants owner: McAdoo was not pressured to give up play-calling

Report: Ezekiel Elliott’s team, NFL have discussed settlement

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Rick Pitino says he passed lie detector test, had no knowledge of Adidas scandal

Gordon Hayward's agent indicates he's likely out for the season

Masahiro Tanaka joins Yankees legends with dominant Game 5 start

Willson Contreras admires his work after crushing 491-foot home run

Jeremy Lin to have knee injury evaluated amid ‘tremendous concern’

Bulls' Mirotic out 4-6 weeks, Portis suspended eight games

NFL Week 7 Predictions

The 'Can I have a quick sword with you?' quiz

College football 2017 Week 8 predictions

NFL Referee Hotline Bling: Austin Seferian-Jenkins drops a call

Blackhawks get extra depth on defense with newbies Rutta and Forsling

The 'Old faces in new places' quiz

Nikola Jokic: A throwback superstar for the modern era

25 questions heading into the 2017-18 NBA season

The 'Sure do hope you have a backup plan in place' quiz

Tale of the Tape: National League Championship Series

Sports & Politics Intersect: White House looms large over sports world for another week

The 'A butcher, a Baker, a touchdown maker' quiz

Yankees News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

NFL Week 7 Predictions

College football 2017 Week 8 predictions

The 'Can I have a quick sword with you?' quiz

NFL Referee Hotline Bling: Austin Seferian-Jenkins drops a call

Blackhawks get extra depth on defense with Rutta and Forsling

The 'Old faces in new places' quiz

25 questions heading into the 2017-18 NBA season

The 'Sure do hope you have a backup plan in place' quiz

Tale of the Tape: National League Championship Series

Sports & Politics Intersect: White House looms large over sports world for another week

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker