I can't believe it, but we are now just one month away from pitchers and catchers reporting, signaling the start of spring training. Here in New York it's still clearly winter, with snow expecting to hit sometime tonight. But for now, here's some food for thought on a possible candidate for the Yankees' DH spot - Alex Rodriguez.
You already know my feelings on A-Rod and his contract, and I feel now is the time to move him to DH. Before the trade last week that sent Jesus Montero to Seattle, it seemed pretty certain A-Rod would still play third base regularly, getting a start or two at DH per week. But now with a vacant DH slot and Eduardo Nunez ready to become an everyday player, it wouldn't be too crazy to think this could happen and greatly benefit the Bombers.
Don't get me wrong, A-Rod is still an above average fielder at third, and actually made some great plays in the postseason, but let's get real. He is 37, and hasn't played 140 games since 2007. Everyone says he's once again "100%" and is ready for a "huge comeback", but we heard the exact same talk before the Yankees opened camp last season. What happened? He played in 99 games and couldn't hit a home run to save his life in the second half.
Making A-Rod the DH would keep him fresh all year long, and wouldn't give him a real risk of getting hurt. A return to hitting 30 home runs would be likely, and that's up and above any production guys like Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui, or Vladimir Gurrerro would provide.
Also something that would be hidden in this potential move is making Eduardo Nunez the starting third baseman. He's a terrific hitter and has been working hard to improve his defense. He would be a solid bat in the bottom third of the Yankees lineup, and would finally give the 25-year old the opportunity he definitely deserves. Also, the Yankees statistically were way better with Nunez in the lineup, whether playing for Jeter or A-Rod.
With A-Rod's ugly contract running through the 2017 season, it is inevitable he will soon become the regular DH for the foreseeable future. But for the benefit of the team and his personal production, Alex needs to make this move now. He's always been a self-centered, "I care about stats more than the team" guy anyway.