Normally, a team would try to get the most bang for their
buck that they can in a deal. They strive to showcase that player's abilities,
proving to prospective suitors that he is worth the asking price.
Yankees have banished A-Rod to the bench, letting him wallow in his .130 batting average this postseason while speculation runs wild about the 37-year-old's future.
It might make sense for the Yankees to eventually part ways
with Rodriguez — his albatross of a contract is already a sunk cost at this
point. But cutting bait now, at the lowest point in the future Hall of
Famer's career, would be irresponsible, short-sighted and costly both on and off the field.
There's no doubt that Rodriguez isn't the player that he
once was — but that's an impossible standard to live up to, anyway. Rodriguez
put up monster numbers in his prime, steroids or not, and has been earmarked to
become the greatest player of all time since he was in high school. He may be
past his prime, but turning 38 is not a death sentence in pro sports.
Rodriguez's regular-season numbers in 2012 won't blow anyone
away, but they're respectable. He hit .272 with 18 home runs and 57 RBIs in 122
games for New York, missing a long stretch of games after breaking his hand. That's the sort of injury that can rob a
hitter of his timing at the plate, something the Rodriguez has obviously
struggled with in the playoffs against right-handed pitching.
So if the Yankees are intent on trading A-Rod as soon as they are allowed to — and if he
would welcome a deal to a big-market team — they need to give him a chance to
rebuild his value at the beginning of next season, with an offseason's worth of
rest and recovery under his belt.
By waiting, New York will give Rodriguez a chance to
prove he can still hack it in the big leagues. There's the possibility that he might
not be able to turn things around, but that's a calculated risk that
the Yankees must take. His value isn't going to get any lower than it is now,
and if the team isn't going to give the 37-year-old a chance to prove his worth
in the playoffs, they will need to do so next spring.
The Yankees are many things, but a team that panics they
should not be. General manager Brian
Cashman has been at it too long to jump ship after a eight-game sample size
takes a turn for the worse. Already on the hook for $114 million over the next five years, the Yankees can always afford to wait things out and see what Rodriguez can muster up in 2013.
It's been a long, strange postseason for A-Rod and the Yankees, but Rodriguez's career has been longer. By jumping at the chance to unload a future Hall of Famer after a bad two weeks, the Yankees would rob themselves of a chance to profit off what's left of it.