Although this isn't ideal news for fans to hear, Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez will be going under the knife on Monday in hopes of repairing a slight meniscus tear in his right knee. According to multiple reports, expected recovery time will be four to six weeks.
In the meantime, I can only assume that Eduardo Nunez will play third base in place of Rodriguez. Thus far this season, Rodriguez had been playing great baseball. Maybe it wasn't what fans are used to seeing out of the illustrious slugger, but up until this point he has been an extremely valuable piece to the Yankees lineup. While his presence in the lineup will be sorely missed, Nunez is a blossoming young player that has proven he can handle being in the starting lineup day after day.
I firmly believe that Rodriguez's decision is the best one to make for two main reasons. Those, of course, come after the lovely jump.
1) He'll be ready down the stretch of the season. If Rodriguez comes back six weeks after his scheduled surgery, he will miss 38 games. Let's assume that the Yankees play .500 baseball and go 19-19 in Rodriguez's absence. Tampa Bay will need to go 21-15 to overtake New York in the wild card standings. This will be fairly difficult for Tampa Bay to do while playing New York seven times in that span as well as Boston six times. By the time Rodriguez returns 100% healthy, the Yankees should be in prime position for a wild card run at the very least.
Alex injured his knee on June 19 at Wrigley Field. His last home run was June 10 against Cleveland at Yankee Stadium. In other words, he hasn't hit a home run in his last 85 at bats. Is it a coincidence that he has suddenly stopped hitting the ball with as much power?
2) He's under contract for six seasons after this year. If Rodriguez had opted to play through the pain and gotten the surgery after 2011, who knows what kind of shape he'd be in. A lineup with an aging slugger that's stuck on the team until post-2017 will need to consider the future as much as they consider the present.
Getting Alex back to full health for the stretch run of this season and for the future is by far the best option. Oh yeah, he'll need to be healthy if he wishes to pursue the all-time home run record as well.
Here's to hoping for a quick recovery.