Two opposing things can be true, I believe. Superstar players are probably the last to know when they’ve come to the end of the line. Declines can be so gradual they’re tough to detect if you’re just taking things day by day. If you listen to the players, they’ll insist they remain capable, even after they’re probably not. On the other side of the coin, no one loves to bury good players too early more than writers. We’ve all probably done it at some point. I did it way too early to Raul Ibanez. Countless people did it way too early to David Ortiz. We start looking for any signs of age-related decline, and then when one or two show up, we tend to assume that’s it. Good players know how to make adjustments. That’s what allows them to be good players.
So with Alex Rodriguez, right now, we’re…somewhere. Rodriguez says he’ll be okay, and he says he loves to prove doubters wrong. Not that Alex Rodriguez has much of a history of being doubted, but, anyway. Rodriguez has his pride, and he also has terrible numbers. He’s 40 years old! But then, the Yankees’ best hitter is 39 years old. It would be very easy to conclude that Rodriguez is finished. The Yankees have started to put him on the bench. We should probably be more patient — this is still Alex Rodriguez we’re talking about. The talent is in there. It’s just, the numbers paint a picture, and it’s a picture of a changed and worse ballplayer. That much cannot be argued.