Many people are quick to say that the yearlong suspension of Alex Rodriguez will hurt him. Sure they are right that a punishment hurts, especially when losing $22M. But to say that he will be unproductive for the 3 years remaining because of just a year off?
I think we got to back in time and take a look at baseball back in the 40’s. A time period where Bob Feller, Ted William, Yogi Berra (in the minors), Joe Dimaggio, Phil Rizzuto, Hank Greenberg, Stan Musial, Johnny Sain, Warren Spahn and many others spent at least a year away from baseball in the military? In fact Ted Williams also left to fight in the Korean War too. In most cases these players went to war in their prime and sacrifice those years of production to fight overseas in the deadliest war of the era. With these top players in their era, they came back in top notch form and continued to compile HOF caliber seasons. So these guys just picked off where they left off last time. What makes Alex Rodriguez any different?
Yes he is older and yes he has battled through injuries. But what is stopping him from returning to his previous form. By previous form I do not mean the form when he was a perennial MVP candidate, I am talking more in the lines of his 2012 or 2013 seasons. Steroid or not he was one of the best hitters in the game during his 20 year career. With or without the suspension, these Rodriguez’s last three years in his contract were never going to be one that pays great dividends to the Yankees. Like all long contracts these years were added to try and retain a player that the team (or just Hal Steinbrenner) felt could help them win now.
What if the suspension helps him? The time away from the stresses of trying to perform at an elite level sure could help psychologically. Maybe having a year off can allow him more time to work on driving the ball after experiencing several hip surgeries. Maybe with all of the Core 4 gone and now being the longest tenured player on the team, Alex Rodriguez will mature and become a clubhouse leader. All jokes aside, a year away from the game is not as big as we make it seem. Guys spend a year away from the game after Tommy John and return to their old level of production. Rodriguez without any injuries to recover from or any wars to return from will be just fine and produce as he did just prior to his suspension, and having a bad rep never bothered him much before.