I hate to say this since I've always been an Alex Rodriguez supporter, but there's no doubting the New York Yankees have benefited over him being on the disable list.
Facts are facts. The last game A-Rod played before heading on the D.L., which was May 3rd against Baltimore Orioles, the Yankees have been 12-6. By far their best stretch of games this season. The reason for that? The DH spot is open to give other players rest and the younger players are getting more playing time.
Athleticism, depth and youth is why the Yankees have had this resurgence. Sure, Aroldis Chapman's debut sparked this team and shorten the game for starters, but the problem the Yankees were having before this winning stretch, was they couldn't score runs.
A-Rod's injury has caused the Yankees to start players who can run from first to home on a double; may sound funny or meaningless, but before this winning stretch the Yankees didn't have players who could do that. That's a huge problem when you have everyday, aging players, while having trouble scoring runs. In this league today, teams have players in every position who can run from first to home. While the Yankees have a lot of position players who can't.
Example: In yesterday's game against the Oakland Athletics, Starlin Castro hits a double while Ronald Torreyes was at first base and scored. If that was A-Rod at first instead of Torreyes, A-Rod doesn't even come close to scoring. He's gonna stop at third and barely make it.
Depth, is another reason why they're winning. With the DH slot open, the Yankees can start Austin Romine at catcher and Brian McCann at DH. Giving guys like Romine more playing time; and in this winning run the Yankees are in, he's been a big part of it. Romine has had a lot of big hits in the month of May.
On top of that, you're giving Carlos Beltran more DH time. And what has he done with that time? Well, in 16-games, he's 12-for-57 with 7 homeruns and 27-RBIs. He's been one their hottest hitters.
Not only you're helping Beltran, Aaron Hicks gets more playing him and he's playing better. Not only that, Hicks is a plus defensively in the outfield over Beltran.
Then they get to play Rob Refsnyder, who had big two RBI double in yesterday's game.
Yankees have now won back-to-back games without hitting a homerun; something they haven't done all of last season. It's difficult to have to rely on older players to hit homeruns. That's not good. I understand homeruns wins games and you need it if you're gonna be a contending team, but the Yankees have to be versatile offensively at times; play a little small ball; hit the ball the other way, instead of pulling every damn pitch. And that's what the Yankees have been doing in the month of May.
Now, A-Rod is expected to return from the D.L., on Tuesday against the Toronto Blue Jays. I think he's gonna come back playing well. I really do. This rest he's had could help refresh his legs to drive the ball, again. The thing is, the players around him won't get rest, those younger players won't play as much or will get sent down to the minors to make room for A-Rod.
Then there's gonna be a scenario where he doesn't hit and you have blocking the DH spot. And if that happens the same time the Yankees begin to lose again, it's gonna frustrating.
I hate to make A-Rod to be an issue. But in this case he's mainly the issue when it comes to having flexibility on the roster. As a player, he's great. He's a great clubhouse presence, great for the youngsters and when hitting well, he can take over a game. A-Rod can still win a game by himself, when healthy and rested.
Will his return break this little magic the Yankees are in? It can go either way. If A-Rod comes back with a power surge, it could help a lot; especially how well the team is playing it could be a boost, beside how they were playing before he went on the D.L.
Bur if he doesn't hit and the team starts to lose again, that's gonna be a...problem.