Alex Rodriguez has been a polarizing figure for a very long time, but perhaps never more than he is right now.
If Game 4 of the ALCS had not been postponed Wednesday night, Rodriguez was going to be riding the pine for the third time this postseason.
Benching A-Rod at all anytime before 2008 would have been unthinkable, but multiple times? That's crazy talk—except when you see that he's 3-for-23 in the postseason this year. As a lifetime .265 postseason hitter, no one should be that surprised.
Rodriguez's benching has stirred everything up, regardless of his poor performances. Whispers of a possible trade to the Miami Marlins (via Wallace Matthews and Andrew Marchand of ESPN) have surfaced, causing Rodriguez's contract to come under fire as well.
Now that he's in decline, making Rodriguez the richest player in baseball history seems ludicrous. Shelling out $275 million for a perennial All-Star makes sense when he's in his prime, but what do you do now?
Let's take a look at the remaining years of A-Rod's contract, per Baseball Reference:
Those numbers don't even include the $30 million in marketing bonuses that Rodriguez is set to make for padding his career home run total. Once he reaches 660 (tying Willie Mays on the all-time list) for his career, he cashes in. Currently, he's at 647, so there's a solid chance that he gets there even if he has gone downhill.
A-Rod can't become a free agent until 2018, regardless of whose uniform he's wearing. That sticks New York with $114 million for a potentially useless five seasons.
There's no reason to think he won't decline either. He hasn't played in over 140 games since 2007, and he hasn't hit higher than .286 since 2008. He's coming off two seasons in which he hit fewer than 20 home runs with fewer than 70 RBI.
If he was just another player with just another contract, that would be fine. But you're not paying unspeakable amounts of money for someone to pop 16 home runs and knock in 65 runners. That's more ludicrous than the deal itself.
What should the Yankees do with A-Rod?
In the WAR world, A-Rod hasn't had higher than a 3.9 in the last four years. No matter where you look, he's in decline. It's obvious each time he steps foot on the field, and it's only more obvious under the bright lights of October.
His postseason production may be the scariest part of all. Despite his reputation, he hasn't been a completely bad playoff hitter. Instead, he's had some horrible years sprinkled in with a few above-average campaigns.
The problem is, he's working on his fourth consecutive bad run as we speak. He hasn't hit above .200 in a series since the 2010 ALDS versus Minnesota. His on-base percentage is below .300 for the past three series.
Numbers speak for themselves. If you don't think that's a lot of money to pay a falling star, our fiscal mindsets are on completely different wavelengths.
There's no way to get around it. Someone—most likely the Yankees, even if they do find a trade partner—is going to eat that cash, hoping that he finds his MVP stroke again.
Judging by his recent production, and his undeniable age, that's not going to happen.
*Stats courtesy of Baseball Reference