It's hard to believe, but a 36-year-old has more years and money left on his contract than any other Yankee. Alex Rodriguez played in 99 games this season, the fewest since 1995, his sophomore campaign. And he hasn't played 140 games since his last elite season, 2007. His OPS+ has dropped each of the last four seasons, from 176 to 116 this year. He had his highest groundball and lowest flyball rates since at least 2002. At the current pace, he has about 2-3 years left as an above-average hitter.
Surprisingly, his saving grace in 2011 was his defense. BRef rated him eight runs above average while UZR had him at +11. I wouldn't count on that in 2012 though, considering he's below average overall as a third-baseman (across eight seasons) and entering his late-30s.
Worst case scenario, he's playing poor defense, missing 80 games, and OPS'ing sub-.800 in three years. And getting paid $27.5 million to do it.
Best case? Probably something akin to 2009 (.286/.402/.532 while playing about 130 games). But it'll most likely be somewhere in between.
What takes a lot of pressure off A-Rod is the fact that there aren't many great third-basemen in baseball nowadays and the Yanks don't have a hot-corner prospect knocking on the door. (Could you imagine if he was a catcher?) For better or worse, we're going to see No. 13 for a long, long time. Are you optimistic about that? If he can return to elite form, will he even stay healthy enough to make it matter?