No matter how you weighed his postseason performance or knack of showing up in headlines for the wrong reasons, no one could deny that
From 2001 through 2007, when he turned 32, Rodriguez played in 98 percent of his team's games, missing an average of two or three per season. But with
In a best-case scenario for the Yankees, Rodriguez gets the hip repaired with conservative, non-invasive treatment and misses a few weeks before he comes back as good as new. In the worst-case scenario, the hip problem requires surgery and is something that will require more extensive recovery and ongoing maintenance. No one can yet know the path ahead. What we do know is Rodriguez has a problem with his hip that surfaced last year and now requires medical attention, he turns 34 years old this summer, and has nine seasons remaining on the most expensive contract in baseball history.
"Hip surgeries are not a common thing in baseball," one general manager said. "Who knows, but it could be tough to come back from quickly. There is a lot of torque in this sport, a lot of lateral movement.
"The one chink in the armor of the Yankees is their age. As guys age you wonder about guys starting to get hurt more. They're a great team, don't get me wrong. But they are a little older."
The Yankees have a 37-year-old catcher coming off shoulder surgery (
New York may have to explore third-base options to replace Rodriguez, lest they allow a $200 million investment to proceed through about 20 percent of the season with
Should Rodriguez miss extended time,
The Yankees have much money and faith invested in Rodriguez. A future without him, even short term, is grim. In those 24 games he did not start last year, the Yankees went 9-15. (They were 80-58 with him.) They lost the wild card by six games. He is a linchpin of organizational plans now and for nine seasons. Only three third basemen age 33 or older ever managed more than two seasons with at least 150 games: