Some valid points via Wally Mathews -
Lost in the flameout of A.J. Burnett and the decline of Derek Jeter, in 2010 Rodriguez achieved something previously thought unattainable despite a career in which he has done just about everything, good and bad.
The question for A-Rod this season is — as it is for Jeter, Burnett and Joba Chamberlain — is this as good as it’s going to be from now on?
There’s little doubt that at this stage of his life and career — he will turn 36 on July 17 — and with his recent injury history, we have already seen the best of Alex Rodriguez.
Some of that is no doubt due to a lack of chemical assistance. It must be recognized that since baseball finally got semi-serious about its PED problem, power totals are way down across the board, not just for A-Rod.
And some of it has to do with injuries, notably the torn labrum in his right hip that caused Rodriguez to have surgery and miss the first six weeks of the 2009 season. And some, no doubt, has to do with increasing age.
But whatever the reasons, there is no disputing that for the past three seasons, Rodriguez has been a shell of the player he was in 2007, when he led the league in home runs (54), RBI (156) and runs scored (143) and batted .314.
Since then, the home run totals are 35, 30 and 30, the RBIs 103 and 100 respectively before last year’s 125, the slugging percentage steadily dropping to last year’s .506, his lowest since 1997.
In fact, A-Rod posted several career lows in 2010: His batting average (.270), runs scored (74) and on-base percentage (.341) were the lowest since he became a regular in 1996. He walked fewer times, 59, than he had since 1999 when he played just 129 games, indicating he was either less patient at the plate — or pitchers were less fearful of pitching to him, especially with the red-hot Cano hitting behind him.
According to the website FanGraphs.com, Rodriguez also made contact at a higher rate than at any other season of his career — in nearly 80 percent of his plate appearances he put the ball in play — but only 13.8 percent of those batted balls were line drives, by far the lowest total of his career.
The numbers only reinforce what your eyes probably told you last season, that the ball no longer jumps off Alex Rodriguez’s bat the way it once did.
Whenever it happens, there will be a day where A-Rod is a .270 hitter who is good for only 25 homers in a season. And, when that day comes, it will be open season on him in New York. The true story then will be how he handles it when it happens. My guess is that he will not handle it well.