Can A-Rod’s Return Spark Anemic Yankee Offense
- Updated: September 26, 2014
The New York Yankees playoff hopes are all but lost, following a 10-10 stretch that leaves the Yankees eliminated from contention in the AL East and 4.5 games back of the Wild Card leaders entering the final week of the MLB regular season.
As forecast by the ever excellent Sharp Report, the Yankees have struggled to generate offense all season, with the UNDER prevailing in eight of their last 11 games. But a lack of run production has become a familiar theme for the Yankees, who have scored more than four runs in a game just a dozen times between the All-Star break and Labor Day.
With the team languishing at or near the bottom of the American League in most offensive categories, the question of where the Yankees’ offensive production will come from in 2015 looms large.
One potential source of power for the Bronx Bombers in 2015 may come in the form of veteran slugger Alex Rodriguez.
Currently serving a season-long suspension for violating MLB’s Performance Enhancing Drugs policy, Rodriguez abandoned his legal battle to have his suspension overturned in June, and will be eligible to rejoin the Yankees next season.
While A-Rod remains a pariah among both baseball fans and his fellow players, the potential for him to be a solid contributor in the Yankees lineup next season is real.
It has been seven years since Rodriguez last played a full MLB season, batting .314 in 2007, with 54 dingers in 158 games. The 39 year-old’s numbers and durability have been in steady decline since, with just 44 games played in 2013, in which he hit seven homeruns while batting .244.
However, while he struggled last season while trying to recovering from a hip injury and the overall wear and tear associated with playing two decades of Major League Baseball, A-Rod has reportedly started working out at both the University of Miami baseball stadium that bears his name and at UCLA facilities in Los Angeles.
According to the report, Rodriguez has been adhering to a conditioning program, hitting off a tee and fielding ground balls, while also hitting the weights, with the intention of resuming his baseball career in 2015.
With three years and over $60 million remaining on his contract, there is plenty of monetary incentive for Rodriguez to return to the Bronx, as well as several milestones that may still be within his grasp.
Rodriguez sits just 61 hits shy of 3000, and may also be in reach of the 700 homerun plateau. The challenge facing the Yankees is where he will play.
With Martin Prado waiting in the wings to play 3B and Carlos Beltran proving himself at DH, A-Rod will have to earn his at-bats in 2015. While it is a longshot that A-Rod can return to being the impact player he once was, his swan song could be the difference the Yankees need to return to the MLB Postseason in 2015.