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Yankees need to release Alex Rodriguez

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It's time.

Kevin C. Cox

Alex Rodriguez is almost back, and even though the 2014 Yankees were much less interesting without the Centaur around, it might be for the best if we never see him again. While they seem to have no delusions about what he will offer them going forward, the Yankees still plan to use A-Rod at third base next year. However, at this point, as a 39-year-old with two bum hips coming off a year-long suspension, what's the point of even trying? It's time to get someone else in here who can give them more definite value going forward without any of the drama.

This offseason would represent the perfect time to make such a move, with so many alternatives available on the open market. For years the Yankees have gone with Alex Rodriguez and some kind of lesser alternative that somehow seems to be even more injury-prone. There was Eric Chavez for 2011 and 2012 and then there was Kevin Youkilis in 2013, but it's time to move away from that approach and get someone legitimate in here. Hanley Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval,Chase Headley, and even Jed Lowrie all offer an upgrade over the returning Rodriguez, but none of them are going to want to sign in New York if A-Rod can come back.

According to Steamer, A-Rod projects to be a .234/.312/.370, 92 wRC+ hitter in 2015, which surely isn't too bad. However, once you consider the fact that he WILL (not MIGHT) get hurt at some point during the season and that line will certainly fall with whatever injury is plaguing him this time, he quickly becomes even less desirable. He also projects to be the worst hitter out of any of his healthier alternatives:

Martin Prado .270/.321/.395 100 wRC+
Chase Headley 257/.343/.413 113 wRC+
Hanley Ramirez .269/.343/.438 123 wRC+
Pablo Sandoval .275/.332/.431 119 wRC+
Jed Lowrie .257/.323/.388 104 wRC+

Add the fact that most of these options will offer superior defense at third base and there seems to be absolutely no reason to expect A-Rod to be worth it. Yes, he still has $61 million on his contract over the next three years, but that money is already a sunk cost and they need to give up on it. They saved nearly $20 million from his suspension this year and with around $45 million coming off the books, the Yankees have money laying around. After two years of mediocrity, the best way for the Steinbrenners to prove that they're in it to win it is for them to just cut ties with A-Rod and find a superior option at third base, contract status be damned. Sure, wasting all that money will hurt, but if it's for the betterment of the team you can't blame them. In fact, I'd praise them.

Conventional baseball wisdom suggests that they'll keep A-Rod around because they're paying him far too much for him to sit at home. He'll hit a few home runs, probably tap into his bonus money, get hurt, struggle, and then we'll have to rely on whatever sub-replacement player they get to fill in behind him. Hopefully that will be Martin Prado and hopefully someone like Rob Refsnyder can come up and provide solid production at second base to fill the void, but we're asking for a lot here and we know what happens to baseball's best laid plans; we've been living it.

Whether they do it this year or next, the Yankees are going to need to release Alex Rodriguez before his contract is up if they want to find better production and less risk. This is nothing against Alex Rodriguez, there's no hate here, but there is logic. Yes, A-Rod provides top-notch entertainment, but I think I'd rather see Chase Headley play well over watching Rodriguez struggle while doing and saying ridiculous things. It's highly unlikely that both players can coexist on the same team, so who would you rather have? The choice should be an easy one.