When Raul Ibanez pinch hit for A-Rod in Game 3 of the ALDS, I understood and applauded Joe Girardi for the move. It took guts to remove a player who, at one time, was considered one of the best ever and who still makes more money than anyone else in the game. Most people thought it would end there. But things got more interesting when A-Rod was benched for Game 5. The message then was that Alex Rodriguez couldn't do it anymore. He was on the decline. He was a part-time player making a superstar's salary. What would the team do with him for the five years remaining on his contract?
When he was pinch it for in Game 1 of the ALCS, it was almost a non-story, until the New York Post Page 6 story came out after Game 2. He was benched for Game 3, and did not appear to even be ready to pinch hit, as he sat on the bench in a sweatshirt while the team tried to rally in the 9th inning.
Trade scenarios began to spread through the media and cyberspace, including a rumor that he could be bound for the Marlins, and a thought that he'd be willing to go to the Dodgers. The team has denied that any deals are being discussed.
So that is how it has come to this. Now the question is why?
I have heard the argument about it being solely about his performance. But it took longer to bench Nick Swisher and Curtis Granderson, two players who have had even worse postseasons than A-Rod. Also, Eric Chavez, who has replaced Alex at 3rd base, has also been horrendous. So is it because of the Post story like others seem to think it is? The team has denied it but, I can't think of anything else but that.
The Yankees are way out of line if this is all because of the Post story. I could understand it if this was early in the regular season. But it's the postseason. I don't care what A-Rod did. Unless it is something criminal, the guy needs to be in the lineup this time of year. Instead, he's being punished for doing something all players do and have done since the game was invented.
Why would the Yankees single Alex Rodriguez out? Because of the contract, of course. There are five years left on a huge deal that includes a full no-trade clause. The idea is to make A-Rod's life miserable so that he will request a trade.
I hope he does request a trade. I love A-Rod, but I am tired of all the drama. Not just his own drama but all the drama that the irrational fans and the, at times, unfair media produce. It is time he had a change in scenery, and it cannot come any sooner.