2015 Statistics: 151 games, .250/.356/.486, 33 home runs, 129 wRC+
2016 Contract Status: 40-man roster, under contract through 2017
It's a bit incredible to think that Alex Rodriguez went from being the guy who many Yankees fans couldn't wait to be rid of to an integral part of their success in 2015 after returning from a year-long suspension. It seemed as though the relationship between Rodriguez and his team had deteriorated so much that there was almost no way the Steinbrenners would allow him to suit back up for their team, but even that relationship seems to have thawed after Rodriguez's performance in 2015 that could have netted him the Comeback Player of the Year award that ultimately went to Prince Fielder instead.
Rodriguez is no longer able to play the field at 40 years old, but he provided the team with a much-needed right-handed power bat in the middle of their lineup. He managed to return from a long injury and a long suspension to play all but 11 games of the season, many of those being because the team was playing in a National League park where they couldn't use a designated hitter. Being the DH allowed Rodriguez to stay as healthy as possible, which kept his bat in the lineup to help the Yankees make their way back to the postseason for the first time in a couple of seasons.
There are fans who will never warm to Rodriguez after what he's done in the past, but it is impossible to deny that he said and did all of the right things to try and repair his image in 2015. He was selfless at every opportunity in front of the cameras, he's credited with helping sort out woes for Didi Gregorius in the field, and he even brought intelligent commentary to the postseason broadcast team. Rodriguez handled passing Willie Mays on the home run list and picking up his 3000th hit by giving all the credit to everyone but himself. The guy genuinely seems to be focused on being a better person now, and it's hard to justify not rooting for him to succeed at this point.
Perhaps the biggest question will be whether or not Rodriguez can have a repeat performance in 2016. He slowed down at the end of the year, possibly due to fatigue after not playing a full season in so long, but his body will be another year older. The Yankees need Rodriguez to be that right-handed power bat in the middle of their lineup again next season. Hopefully Rodriguez's body cooperates and allows him to have another successful season, because this past one was incredibly fun to watch.