Tuesday, April 19, 2016
SLUMPS DON'T LAST
Going in Sunday's game, Alex Rodriguez was 0 for 19. He broke that streak in an 2 run homer.He went on to hit 1 for 4 during that game. To say his season is off to a rough start might be an understatement. So, what are the Yankees going to do with him?
I feel like this sort of conversation, in one form or another, about one player or another always comes up. A player slumps, and fans call for heads to roll. Guys, listen... it's only April, and it's only a slump. Baseball is a marathon, not a sprint. I know we want our team to be performing at their very best, but the season is long, and slumps don't last. Especially with a player that has a work ethic like Alex.
Just take a look at his 2015 season. I don't think anyone believed he would be as productive at the plate as he was. I wouldn't believe you if you said you did, honestly. 39 years old, coming off of an entire season with no baseball activity? The odds were definitely stacked against him. The most we could've hoped for was a few good clutch hits. Instead, he came back to and hit .250 with 33 home runs. He was a crucial part of our line-up.
With him struggling at the plate, a few people have suggested that the Yankees should consider bringing up Nick Swisher to replace him (HERE). I like Swisher but I don't think that bringing him up would solve Alex's problem. The Yankees signing Swish to a minor league deal makes sense for the team. But not to take the place of Alex. The signing makes more sense in the case of Mark Teixeira. It adds depth to first in case of injury or days off. Swish is still a positional player, and delegating him to the DH role seems like a waste of a roster spot.
Look, I get it. Alex is 40. There are two years left on his contract, then he retires. Thinking about the Yankees considering an exit plan is normal, I just don't think it is a real possibility. Maybe he is hitting just over .100 in July and he rides the bench for a few days. It could happen. I just don't see the Yankees releasing him, and paying him $20 million a year to stay home and watch the game on television. It's more likely that he'll get a few more days off, and a lot more work with Alan Cockrell and Marcus Thames to work out the kinks. Joe Girardi already dropped him in the lineup from third to sixth.
None of us know for sure how much Alex has left in the tank. But we do know that he is struggling at the plate, and we know he has to work through this as quickly as possible. All players struggle at some point. In 2004, Derek Jeter went 0 for 32 before breaking the slump with a home run against Barry Zito (HERE). He went on to hit .292 that season. And yes, I know that Alex is no Jeter. I get it. But there is no denying his ability at the plate. When Alex is on, he a monster. Sometimes all players need is that one big hit to get their bats swinging. Let's hope that Sunday's homer was exactly that for Alex.
--Erica Morales BYB Senior Writer
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