After a season in which he was almost never mentioned, Alex Rodriguez is starting to creep back into the Yankee headlines. He's been working out in preparation for his return from this year's suspension, the team has been speaking openly and positively about him rejoining the lineup in 2015, and all signs point towards A-Rod being the starter at some position on Opening Day. What position, exactly, is up for debate and appears as though it could be something that's not set in stone. One suggestion that's been talked about on our daily email chains and multiple times in the comment section of this blog is the idea of moving A-Rod back to shortstop. That is an idea that any and all believers should stop believing right now. Forget about it. Because it's not going to happen.
At 39 years old and turning 40 next July, and with 2 bad hips, A-Rod's days of playing every day are long gone. Cash used that point as the main reason why the team reportedly asked A-Rod to learn first base this offseason. The Yankees know what Alex is physically capable of doing and they know what he's not physically capable of doing, and deep down in his prideful heart, Alex probably knows it too. Moving him to an infield spot that requires more lateral quickness, more left-to-right range, and more general footspeed than he has left in his body is not something that's going to help keep him on the field. Doesn't matter that he mentally remembers how to play short, he can't physically play it anymore.
It's also not something that would help the team. In case you've forgotten, the Yankees just finished staggering through another mediocre season with a slow-footed, 40-year-old at shortstop. To go from that guy, Derek Jeter, to a player who's even slower would be a step in the wrong direction. The Yankees need to get younger and better defensively at shortstop. Putting A-Rod there accomplishes neither of those things.
The best and smart thing to do, for both A-Rod's and the team's best interests, is to play A-Rod as the regular DH, the sometimes third baseman, and the emergency first baseman. That's the best way to keep him healthy and the best way to free up more positions to be improved. That's what needs to be done and, logic willing, that's what will be done. A-Rod's not going to play shortstop. Forget about it.