3 Reasons Alex Rodriguez Needs to Be Replaced

Stephen Skinner@https://twitter.com/oswegos1Contributor IIFebruary 11, 2013

The Yankees must replace Alex Rodriguez
The Yankees must replace Alex RodriguezJonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Alex Rodriguez is one of the most polarizing figures in the history of the New York Yankees, and it is time for the team to shed the anchor that he has become from its neck.

Looking at what A-Rod has done during his time as a Yankee, it is difficult to argue that his accomplishments have not been impressive. 

Since 2004 (his first season in pinstripes) Rodriguez has hit .292 with 302 home runs, 960 RBI and a .925 OPS.  For those nine seasons his average WAR is 5.5 and he has won two MVP awards while being selected to the AL All-Star squad seven times.

In spite of those accomplishments, there are three definitive reasons why the team needs to replace him on their roster.

First there is the issue of his health.  He is currently recuperating from his second hip surgery in four years. This means that once again he will miss most, if not all, of a baseball season with the team.

Since 2009, the third baseman has averaged 119 games played per season, and you have to go back to 2007 to find a year where he played in more than 150 contests.  This season will add to that streak.

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As Will Carroll reported last month, the need for a second surgery on Rodriguez's hip is "worrisome," and he writes:

More problematic is the encroachment of arthritis. "If [Rodriguez] has arthritis in the hip, recurrent arthritis, then he already needs a hip replacement. They just don't want to do it because he's an athlete. They'll do this to delay the inevitable."

The reality is that Rodriguez may never play a full season again.  The issues with the hip just aren't going to go away.

Second, what goes hand-in-hand with the health issue is the fact that Rodriguez's performance has been on a steady decline.

From 1996 through 2009 A-Rod hit .306 and his average never dipped below .285.  Since then, he has not hit above .276. 

In the 13 seasons from 1996 to 2008 his WAR had a low of 4.2 (in 2006) and a high of 10.1 (2000).  For the four seasons since, it hasn't gone above a 3.9.

On the diamond play has also declined for Rodriguez as his fielding percentage has dropped from .976 in 2010 to .957 last year.

Clearly time is taking its toll on A-Rod.

Finally, there are the off-field distractions that Alex Rodriguez brings with him.  There has been constant controversy since his first days with the organization. 

In 2004 things swirled around his relationship with Yankees Captain Derek Jeter.

The 2009 season brought about his admission to the use of steroids.

Throughout the years, Rodriguez has "enjoyed" a history of controversial relationships similar to his counterpart in golf, Tiger Woods.  They have resulted in his very public divorce and a continued paparazzi-like following.

Now we have the latest media-drawing agitation to hit the New York Yankees clubhouse thanks to A-Rod.  He has once again been tied to the use of performance enhancing drugs (PEDs).

While the Yankees have kept their distance from the allegations and the subsequent investigation, Hal Steinbrenner admits "concern" over the issue.

No matter what the outcome of this latest Alex Rodriguez media frenzy, it will remain a distraction in the Yankees clubhouse as long as he is part of the team.

Given the continued health issues, his decline in performance and the constant controversies that follow him on a nearly daily basis, it is time for the Yankees to replace Rodriguez.

Yes, the team is on the hook for nearly $114 million through 2017, but if he isn't playing, why not give the roster spot to someone who can play or be available to play at third base? 

As the team continues to fill the starting third base position with players "long in the tooth" like Eric Chavez (2011 and 2012) or Kevin Youkilis (this season), wouldn't it make sense to bring up someone like a David Adams for some seasoning?

Why even tie up a spot on the disabled list for a player in decline who, when he comes back (if he comes back), carries baggage like PED allegations and limited ability?

The PED accusations in particular call into question what A-Rod was really worth to the franchise.  Are those MVPs and the run of 100-plus RBI seasons all just part of a giant artificial aberration?

Let's at the very least remove the questions about the team's accomplishments and get rid of the non-stop controversy going forward.

It's time to replace Alex Rodriguez. 

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