Via David Schoenfield -
You can see many signs of A-Rod’s slowing bat speed, from pitchers no longer afraid to pitch him inside to various analysts breaking down his swing. The numbers support a player who has expanded the strike zone, which I believe suggests a player “cheating” to catch up to pitches, and is losing plate discipline in the process. Check out the percentage of A-Rod’s swings on pitches outside the strike zone in recent years:
2009: 21.1 percent
2010: 25.3 percent
2011: 27.0 percent
2012: 31.3 percent
In 2007, Rodriguez had 120 strikeouts and 95 walks. In 2012, those figures were 116 and 51 (in nearly 200 fewer PAs).
Rodriguez has five years remaining on his deal. Ignoring the fact that he won’t be a $28 million player in 2013, the bigger question: How many years does he have left as a decent player, regardless of salary? One? Two? At some point in the future, the Yankees may have to bite the bullet and eat a lot of salary — or risk playing a guy who no longer helps them win.