Before we put him six feet under after last night, let's look a moment at where A-Rod is. He had, by his standards, an off 2012, hitting .272 with 18 homers in 122 games. That's not shabby, but not where he usually is. His batting/onbase/slugging line is .272/.353/.430 when he's .300/.384/.560 career. That takes him from an all-star caliber third baseman to a merely good third baseman.
He only hit .256 against right-handers during the regular season, so it was a defendable call to have a slumping A-Rod sit in the 9th and bring lefty Raul Ibanez up. Here's manager Joe Girardi's take after the game-
"I just went to him and said, 'You're scuffling a little bit right now,'" is how the manager recounted his conversation with the man who has hit more home runs than all but four other men in baseball history.
"Raul has been a good pinch hitter for us," Girardi said he told A-Rod. "And I'm just going to take a shot."
Don't write A-Rod off quite yet, as the media seem to be doing. He'll still be a solid third baseman for quite a bit, even if he's not quite earning his superstar salary, but that's the risk you take in signing a star to a contract taking him into his late 30s.
Derek Jeter might be a cautionary tale for not writing folks off too soon. Two years ago, Jeter slumped down to .270 when he was chasing his 3000th hit. He's back up to .316, above his career average, albeit with slightly reduced power.