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A-Rod is a lightning rod for Yankees' failure

October 19, 2012|By Mike James
  • Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees walks off the field after losing to the Detroit Tigers during Game 4 of the American League Championship Series at Comerica Park.
Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees walks off the field after losing to… (Jonathan Daniel / Getty…)

Third baseman Alex Rodriguez was the poster child for the Yankees' collapse in the American League Championship Series, though in terms of futility, he had tons of company. The team, after all, batted only .157 while being swept by the Tigers.

Give A-Rod some credit. His .111 batting average in the playoffs was 55 points higher than that of second baseman Robinson Cano, who batted a nifty .056. 

But A-Rod, with $100 million left on his contract, became the focus of the fall and only increased the spotlight on himself when word leaked out that he had sent a couple of baseballs into the stands to try to get the phone numbers from two young women. Fans no doubt felt it comforting to see that the struggling player really had his head in the game.

He says he wants to remain with the Yankees and has a no-trade contract, but speculation is still very much alive that the Yankees will try to move him.

To Southern California, perhaps? Some think either the Dodgers or Angels should get involved. ESPN-L.A.'s Mark Willard championed the cause Friday morning, saying a lineup that featured Rodriguez along with Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp and others would definitely make a deal worth pursuing.

Times columnist Bill Plaschke had an entirely different take: Stay away at all costs; don't even think about going after a 37-year-old player on the downslide. His statistics have gone down dramatically in the last two years.

A career .300 hitter, he hit .276 in 2011 and .272 this past season, with only 57 RBIs and a meager slugging percentage of .430. With five years left on his contract, there aren't a lot of signs pointing upward.

Still, the ALCS provided plenty of fodder to keep fans interested. The tabloids had a field day. And Friday, of all the headlines chronicling the demise, it was hard to beat the presentation in the New York Post, which has a full-page shot of a baseball with the inscription, "Dear Yankees, We don't date losers. Signed, New Yorkers."

Of course, that would have been the perfect return inscription for A-Rod when he sent the baseballs into the crowd to try to get the numbers of two young women.

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