Via Sweeny Murti -
If A-Rod comes back on schedule after the All-Star break — let’s assume July 19, first game of the second half — then he will have played only 33 games in the previous 12 months (remember the broken hand that knocked him out most of the second half last season).
Only 33 games in 12 months. Only 130 Major League at-bats (and four home runs) in 12 months. At age 37. No matter how well the doctors repaired A-Rod’s hip, will he be able to regain something resembling his old self after missing so much game time at that age?
Off the top of my head the only player I could recall in recent history that went through something comparable was Dave Winfield, who actually missed the entire season in 1989 — at age 37 — due to a back injury. How did Winfield respond?
He capped his Hall of Fame career with four impressive seasons from 1990-1993, averaging 145 games per year, .273 BA, .342 OBP, and .465 SLG (96 home runs total in four years). It adds up to an OPS of .808 over four seasons from ages 38-41. That’s what you’d call a successful comeback.
The Yankees will have A-Rod under contract for four and a half more seasons upon his projected return this July. A Winfield-like comeback would be a lofty goal. The complexity of this second hip surgery in four years makes it hard to believe it’s possible, especially when you consider that his production has dipped every year since 2007 already.
If he gets back on the field as projected this summer, then at least on one level the Yankees can say A-Rod’s surgery was “successful.” But the return on the investment is still a long way from being determined. And the odds aren’t in his favor.
Then again, for all we know, Winfield could have been juicing in the early ’90′s? There were no tests back then…
See Brian Downing and Candy Maldonado, who were Winny’s teammates at that time.
A-Rod? I’ve said this before, and, I will say it again. He’s the new Juan Gonzalez. Even if he comes back from the hip surgery, it will only be a matter of time before something else on him breaks and he’s back on the disabled list. He’s a china doll at this point. Unless the Yankees ensconce him in bubble wrap and nurse him through the rest of his career as a D.H., you cannot count on him to play in more than 120 games in a season, ever, again.