Joe Girardi said he expects Alex Rodriguez to be a New York Yankees next year, despite the all the trade speculation after Rodriguez was pulled from the starting lineup the last two games of their ALCS loss to the Detroit Tigers.
“I expect Alex to be our every-day third baseman,” Girardi said. “What is he going to have to show me? That he is healthy and ready to go.
“That’s the bottom line — that he has no concerns and we have no concerns about putting him out there every day.”
Rodriguez was benched by Girardi for three of the nine postseason games that the Yankees played, which included Game 3 of the American League Division Series against the Baltimore Orioles. Girardi pinched hit Raul Ibanez for A-Rod in the ninth inning, which proved to be a decisive decision because he smashed two home runs and his last one won the game.
Rodriguez’ benching was due impart to being hitless in 18 at-bats and striking out 12 times against right-handed pitchers. But his replacement Eric Chavez did not do much better, going 0-for-16 with eight strikeouts in the postseason.
Even with the broken hand that Rodriguez suffered in July that he missed time for, some assumed that could have been the problem behind his slump at the plate. Girardi did not agree with that assertion.
“I believe he was healthy,” Girardi said. “He had some struggles during the course of the season, as well, against right-handers. You talk about as players, you do have to make minor adjustments — let’s evaluate why I wasn’t as successful off of right-handers.”
Girardi has not spoken with Rodriguez since benching him in Game 4 of American League Championship Series against the Detroit Tigers, but plans to during the offseason.
Girardi understands that A-Rod could possibly be harboring some ill feelings towards him that could have a lasting impact going into the 2013 season, especially since he has been mentioned in trade talks with the Miami Marlins and Los Angeles Angels.
“I’m always worried about whatever move I make, how it affects the club, how it affects a player, anything,” Girardi said. “I think it’s something that, sure, I possibly might have to deal with more than I expected, but I possibly might may not have to deal with it at all. As we move forward, I’ll get a temperature on it, keep track of it and see how it’s going.”
If the temperature gets to hot, the Yankees may attempt to trade Rodriguez during the offseason, which will be a difficult obstacle to overcome. Rodriguez has a no-trade clause in his contract, allowing him to block any trade without his approval. Additionally, the Yankees owe him $114 million over the next five years.
Rodriguez is preparing to head into the offseason with one mission in mind; boost his numbers to the 2007 season when he would AL MVP. During that season he had a .314 batting average, 54 home runs, and 156 RBIs.
“If I do what I know I can do, Joe doesn’t have a choice,” Rodriguez said. “And neither does (Brian) Cashman or anybody. They’ll have to play me.”