Alex Rodriguez took a big step back in 2012. To be fair, he suffered a fractured hand thanks to a Felix Hernandez fastball. However, Rodriguez was struggling before and after the injury. The Yankees still owe the slugger $114 million over the next five seasons. They'd like to use him in some capacity and hope that his numbers improve back to his career averages, or somewhere close, rather than ship him off somewhere and eat the salary. Their first step may be to use him less in the field.
According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the Yankees may be preparing to shift Rodriguez to more of a designated hitter role. It would be a big change for the career-infielder. ARod started his career as a shortstop, then he moved to third base. Now, at the age of 37, the Yankees may ask him to lighten his workload in the field and become the team's primary DH.
Others in the industry say the team may be laying groundwork to use Rodriguez as their primary designated hitter, starting next season.
The Yankees, who say they do not plan to trade Rodriguez, are trying to land a veteran infielder who can play third and also fill in at short with Derek Jeter coming off surgery on his left ankle.Rodriguez hit .272/.353/.430 with 18 home runs in 122 games last season. He has hit just 34 home runs combined in his last two seasons after not falling short of 30 in a single season since 1997. Perhaps a move to DH will help Rodriguez focus on hitting. He won't like the move if it happens, but it could be the best thing for his career and for him financially. Rodriguez is due up to $30 million per year in marketing bonuses as he hit home run milestones on the way to the all-time record. He may have a better chance at reaching those milestones if he does so as a DH.