How far should A-Rod's value drop?

March, 5, 2009
03/05/09
12:45
PM ET

Alex RodriguezJ. Meric/Getty ImagesAlex Rodriguez's fantasy fortunes definitely are not looking up for this season.
This has not been a good offseason for Alex Rodriguez. First we had the whole steroid issue, but it was expected that the hubbub would fade into the background, especially if no disciplinary action is handed down as a result of the revelations. But on Thursday, his older brother, Joe Dunand, told Enrique Rojas of ESPNdeportes.com that Rodriguez will have surgery to remove a cyst from his right hip and that the resulting rehabilitation would take about 10 weeks.

The story took a couple of turns late in the day, as Rodriguez's agent, Scott Boras, confirmed that A-Rod had a torn labrum in his hip in addition to the cyst. However, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said that Rodriguez would undergo conservative treatment in order to avoid an operation. If Rodriguez were to have surgery, Cashman said the three-time AL MVP would miss up to four months of action.

If we took Dunand at his word and assumed Rodriguez ends up missing action only until mid-May, how far would you drop him on your draft lists? Let's put the number of missed games for A-Rod at about 35. That means you would be paying for about 127 games. Well, last season's numbers of 35 home runs, 103 RBIs and a .302 batting average were accomplished in only 138 games, so it wouldn't be too farfetched to assume that you'd be able to get similar numbers from Rodriguez, assuming a complete recovery in that time frame. But even so, that would probably drop him out of the first round, and into the mid-to-late second round.

The problem is that if Rodriguez does need surgery, 10 weeks of recovery time is probably a very optimistic forecast. ESPN.com's own Stephania Bell says that if surgery is needed, it is unlikely (though not impossible) that he would be back on the field for the Yankees as quickly as Dunand is intimating, and that it would be closer to the four months that Cashman suggested. That puts a whole new spin on things, because if Rodriguez could possibly be out until perhaps the All-Star break, there's no way you can pay full price for what may end up being a half-season of action.

If you halve Rodriguez's pre-cyst projection to 22 home runs and 65 RBIs, you're looking at someone contributing at a level far closer to Adrian Beltre (ADP: 114.3) and Alex Gordon (ADP: 149) than David Wright (ADP: 4.9) and Evan Longoria (ADP: 26.4), both of whom have already moved to the top of third base pecking order with the latest news.

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Let's say Rodriguez follows the Yankees' current approach of avoiding surgery, sitting out the World Baseball Classic as a precaution, and heading into Opening Day feeling fine. Is it still worth it to make Rodriguez the overall No. 1 selection and wait at the edge of your seat all March long, waiting for the other shoe to drop? I don't think so.

Given the uncertainty across the board about his status, Rodriguez drops from the No. 1 overall player in ESPN.com's rankings to No. 31, the top of the fourth round. If you do decide to select him, you must make sure that you snare a second option at the hot corner sooner rather than later, just to cover yourself, and I don't mean taking Cody Ransom either. That may end up being Plan B for the Yankees, but it won't work for you. And for those of you who already have drafted Rodriguez, perhaps it might be the best option to try to get maximum value out of him now, before the worst fears become reality.

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