Joe Girardi continues his lineup-pulled-from-a-hat routine and in Game 4 there's no Alex Rodriguez or Curtis Granderson in the starting nine. Nick Swisher returns to right field with Brett Gardner sliding over to center field from left. Eric Chavez is 0-for-14 in the postseason with six strikeouts but he's apparently still hotter than Rodriguez.
Considering the wild trade rumor that circulated earlier in the day courtesy of Keith Olbermann -- A-Rod to the Marlins with the Yankees picking up most of the $114 million owed Rodriguez through 2017 -- it's certainly possible Rodriguez has played his final game with the Yankees. It's also possible that Rodriguez just never recovered from the broken hand he suffered when Felix Hernandez hit him on July 24 (or is bothered by a bad hip) and the Yankees will just write off what happened down the stretch and the postseason and start anew in 2013.
When Hernandez hit Rodriguez, A-Rod was batting .276/.358/.449 -- solid, but hardly spectacular. But he's had even more trouble driving the ball since coming off the disabled list, hitting .261/.341/.369 in the regular season and has gone 3-for-23 in the postseason.
Say the Yankees write off the post-injury numbers and believe A-Rod is still a third baseman capable of putting up an .800 OPS. Only seven qualified third basemen reached that figure in 2012 -- Miguel Cabrera, Adrian Beltre, Aramis Ramirez, David Wright, Chase Headley, David Freese and Ryan Zimmerman. Chipper Jones and Todd Frazier did it in fewer than 500 plate appearances and Pablo Sandoval came close with a .789 OPS. Still, there aren't a lot of third basemen these days putting up big numbers.
What do you think? Is this it for A-Rod in pinstripes? Do the Yankees need to start fresh at third base and purge themselves of the A-Rod media circus?