Last year, Alex Rodriguez returned from his Biogenesis suspension and no one knew what to expect from him. Not only did he miss the entire 2014 season, but he also played just 44 games in 2013. Despite all the time off, A-Rod went on to have a truly remarkable season, batting .250/.356/.486 with 33 home runs (he hadn't hit more than 30 in a single season since 2008!). Over the course of the season, he reached a number of milestones, including his 3,000th career hit and his 660th career home run, which tied Willie Mays on the all-time list. Here's a look at the franchise and career milestones A-Rod could reach during the 2016 season.
Rodriguez has hit 342 home runs as a Yankee. It might be expecting too much to imagine him hitting 33 home runs again this season, but he just needs to hit 20 more to pass both Yogi Berra (358) and Joe DiMaggio (361) and settle into fourth place in the franchise. Lou Gehrig's number of 493 is likely out of reach.
This season A-Rod will score his 1,000th run as a Yankee, as he currently sits at 993. He only needs 35 to move ahead of Willie Randolph and into ninth place on the Yankees' list.
A-Rod has been a Yankee since 2004, so it comes as no surprise that he has played in a ton of games. What is surprising, though, is just how high he ranks in terms of total games played considering just how much time he missed with his hip surgeries and Biogenesis suspension. He has played 1444 games with the Yankees, and if he plays a full season in 2016 then he will jump ahead of Graig Nettles for the 16th spot overall.
Hit by pitch
Throughout his career with the Yankees, A-Rod has been hit by a pitch in the batters box 103 times. It probably won't happen this year, but he just needs to be hit 12 more times in order to move into second place on the Yankees all-time list, right behind Derek Jeter (170).
Obviously this is the big one, as Rodriguez's contract includes bonuses if he happens to tie Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron or Barry Bonds on the all-time home run list. He has hit 687 home runs throughout his entire career, which means he just needs to hit 27 this season to tie Ruth. That is definitely possible if he can stay healthy, and it will be interesting to see what the team does if he activates another home run bonus. The Yankees barely acknowledged it when he tied Mays last year and announced that they would refuse to pay him the bonus (though they later agreed to donate money to charity instead). However, he seems to be back in the team's good graces now. Rodriguez would need to hit more than 60 home runs to catch up to Aaron, and it would take 75 to pass Bonds. Since Rodriguez is signed through 2017, it is still feasible that he could catch Bonds before he retires.
Rodriguez currently sits in fifth place on the all-time strikeout list with 2,220. With just 100 more, he will overtake Sammy Sosa in fourth place. If he plays for a few more years, he could eventually take the number one spot from Reggie Jackson (2597). Although this wouldn't necessarily be something to brag about, strikeouts and home runs tend to go hand-in-hand, so it makes sense.
It is difficult to predict what kind of season Alex Rodriguez will have after putting up such great numbers in 2015. At the very least, his Twitter and Instragram posts indicate that he has been working hard to get into shape. Hopefully that translates into an even better 2016 season.