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Better off without A-Rod? Not likely

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Ian O'Connor recently voiced the opinion that Alex Rodriguez' injury and absence for a few weeks might actually be a good thing for the New York Yankees.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports scoffs at that notion. Here is part of his argument.

Let's put to immediate rest this ridiculous notion that the Yankees will somehow be better off without Alex Rodriguez.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Rodriguez could get re-married and divorced again, simultaneously date J-Lo, Britney and Pink and admit to using steroids from the age of 5, and he still would be one of the best players in the game.

The Yankees need him — badly. They can find a stopgap at third base and patch together a lineup while he misses the first part of the season. But if Rodriguez does not return from hip surgery as the A-Rod of old — or something close to it — then the team will be in trouble.

Rodriguez, Jason Giambi, Bobby Abreu — all posted on-base percentages of .370 or better last season while combining for 87 homers and 299 RBIs. Giambi and Abreu left as free agents. Rodriguez is now questionable. Mark Teixeira cannot replace all three.

The offense already had offensive issues; the Yankees finished only seventh in the American League in runs last season. Jorge Posada and Hideki Matsui are coming off surgeries. Either Brett Gardner or Melky Cabrera will likely be a below-average producer in center field. And Teixeira, for all his gifts, is a .259 career hitter in April. ...

The Yankees need A-Rod. They need him healthy. And they need him soon.

Is this 'we won't miss A-Rod' sentiment the same kind of wishful thinking New York Giants' fans used last season when they brushed off the loss of Plaxico Burress after his self-inflicted gunshot? I know I was guilty of that, and the Giants missed the star wideout big-time as the season unfolded. I think there is no denying the Yankees will miss A-Rod, even if we know he is an idiot and wish the team had let him walk before the 2008 season.

Cody Ransom is a 33-year-old guy with less than 200 major-league at-bats, which means nobody has ever thought he was very good. Even if they bring in an experienced guy like Mark Teahan via trade, that will cost them a prospect or two they would really rather hang onto.

Other than the fact that we might get a break from the A-Rod soap opera for a while, there is nothing else good for the Yankees about his being out of the lineup.

  • A quick note about Mark Melancon, my adopted Yankee for the spring. He has now pitched four scoreless innings (in four appearances) this spring. He has given up just two hits and struck out four. When do we start thinking the young right-hander might have a shot at making the big club out of spring training?