Plus Or Minus?

Will A-Rod's return be a boon or a distraction?

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(Total votes: 5,459)

BOON
BUMMER

A MUST-SEE 3B

Marchand By Andrew Marchand
ESPNNewYork.com
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Is A-Rod better than David Adams?

The answer, of course, is yes.

If Alex Rodriguez returns to the Yankee lineup, he will come back with a lot of baggage. He turns 38 in about a month. He is recovering from his second hip surgery. And he brings the full heft of the Biogenesis scandal to the Bronx. He is Lindsay Lohan in cleats.

However, on the field, A-Rod is better than Adams. A-Rod has reportedly looked good in Tampa and is very motivated to try to change the current narrative. That doesn't mean he will do well, but we know the desire is there.

Adams seems to work hard too, but he has no history of success as a Yankee. He is just a rookie hitting less than .200. He may go on to have a good career, but there is no reason to believe he will be anywhere as productive as A-Rod could be.

Will A-Rod be a distraction? Yes and no. He will add a tabloid figure into the library-like clubhouse. But A-Rod will have to deal with that factor -- and he is fairly experienced at doing that. The rest of the players wont have to be bothered with the situation.

A-Rod will answer the questions, not leaving his teammates to answer for him.

As for his teammates, they want A-Rod back. Robinson Cano has repeatedly talked fondly about having A-Rod return.

While this version of A-Rod is not going to inspire opposing teams to pitch to Cano, he very well could offer better protection than Travis Hafner and Lyle Overbay.

The last factor with A-Rod is popularity. Thus far, the Yankees have had as much of a fairy-tale season as a team with a $200 million payroll can. But still, the team's popularity, in terms of attendance and TV ratings, is down.

A-Rod is a must-see player. It might be a train wreck, but it will be better than David Adams.

Oh, and it would be helpful, if he kept quiet.

Andrew Marchand covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com

NO DOUBT ABOUT IT

Darcy By Kieran Darcy
ESPNNewYork.com
Archive

The last thing the Yankees need right now is Alex Rodriguez.

Yes, the lineup could use a boost.

The Yanks' current team batting average is .239, second-worst in the American League.

But is A-Rod really going to provide that much of a lift? He hit .272 in 122 games last season and hasn't batted over .300 since 2008.

He also turns 38 years old next month and is coming off surgery for a torn labrum in his hip. Who knows if he can even match his relatively meager production totals of the past few years?

Even when he returns, it's unlikely Rodriguez will be able to play in the field every day. That means Joe Girardi will have to use him at DH at times, taking at-bats away from someone like Travis Hafner, who's not currently hitting for average but does have 12 home runs and 34 RBIs.

Speaking of Girardi, the manager is not going to enjoy answering questions about Rodriguez day after day after day. It will wear on him.

It won't help the rest of the Yankees, either. The clubhouse has been a different, calmer place with stars like Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira and Rodriguez not around much of the time. The other guys have been able to go about their business in relative peace.

That'll all change with A-Rod back in the fold. Reporters will swarm the room, and lots of questions will be asked, of everyone.

Could it be a distraction? Absolutely.

For nearly half a season, the Yankees have been one of the best stories in Major League Baseball, overachieving with an injury-depleted roster.

The storyline changes the second A-Rod returns to the scene.

They go from being a feel-good story to the center of a firestorm.

Kieran Darcy is a staff writer for ESPNNewYork.com