Down 0-3 in the ALCS, the Yankees season is on the line tonight and manager Joe Girardi has decided to once again bench his highest paid slugger, Alex Rodriguez, along with center fielder Curtis Granderson.
Girardi indicated in the pregame press conference that the reason was not the NY Post’s flirting story, which used an unnamed fan as it’s lone source, as many people have wondered. Instead Girardi suggested it’s because A-Rod can’t hit righties anymore.
This is true. At this point in his career, A-Rod is still a decent, not great, player. He hit just .256 with a .717 OPS against righties this year though and when you have Chavez on the bench, who hit .298 with a .908 OPS against righties this season, it seems obvious to go with Chavez. Some people bring up Chavez’s small sample size of 0-for-14 as a reason to stick with A-Rod, but it’s not like A-Rod’s tiny sample size of 3-for-23 has been much better.
This is the reason why I said at the end of my A-Rod to Miami rumor bonanza piece that it wasn’t crazy to think he could be traded this offseason. This is a clear sign that the Yankees view A-Rod as a mere platoon player.
The Yankees are finally benching Granderson after he has gone just 3-for-29 with 15 strikeouts this postseason. They benched Swisher yesterday. Perhaps giving one player each a night off is a non-verbal statement to each player and their future with the teams.
Let’s hope it works. Tonight could be the last game of the Yankees season. They probably aren’t going to win this series, but hopefully they go down in a glorious fight.