Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman says Alex Rodriguez isn’t the slugging superstar who rocketed the Bronx Bombers to several championships, but he’s still an “above-average” player who Cashman expects to be in pinstripes come spring training.
The 37-year-old third baseman had an underwhelming postseason, earning three hits of 25 at bats with no home runs or RBIs. As the jeers spewed from frustrated fans in the Bronx, coach Joe Girardi benched Rodriguez for the last game in the American League Division Series against Baltimore and later for Game 3 of the Championship Series.
Rodriguez expressed some annoyance at the lack of playing time, but after the Yankees were eliminated he vowed to return to the team next season. Cashman backed that pledge, telling the Daily News that the three-time American League Most Valuable Player would remain a Yankee.
“If anybody wants to call me on anything, I will listen to anything about any player,” Cashman told the paper by phone Sunday. But “If anyone wastes their time thinking Alex Rodriguez is not going to be with us in spring training, they’d be wrong.”
Rodriguez has five years and $114 million left on his contract with the Yankees. His 647 home runs put him fifth the club’s all-time home run list, though his 2012 season in New York was a forgettable one. After missing a month of the season with a broken hand, Rodriguez finished with 18 home runs and a career-low 57 RBIs.
Cashman acknowledged A-Rod’s best may be behind him, but refused to count him out completely.
“Is he still a superstar? No,” Cashman told the News. “Is he still an above-average player at his position? Yes. He was this year and we expect him to be one moving forward.”