After going 2 for 16, with a .347 OPS and only one run, in the first four games of the Yankees' ALDS series against the Baltimore Orioles, Alex Rodriguez, who is being paid $29 million this season, has been benched for tonight's crucial Game 5. In his place at third will be Eric Chavez.
A-Rod's benching goes beyond his ineffectiveness overall — he's been even worse against right-handers, going 0-11 with 9 strikeouts so far this series, and tonight's pitcher is righty Jason Hammel. The problem for the Yankees, though, is that their hitting woes extend way beyond A-Rod. Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson, both 2012 All Stars, have been even worse, with Cano going 2 for 18 and Granderson an astonishing 1 for 16.
Because of his salary, A-Rod's woes just seem more egregious. This season, the 15th and 16th highest payrolls in the league — the two medians — are the Chicago Cubs' $88,197,033 and the Atlanta Braves' $83,309,942; alone, A-Rod's pay is 32.88% of the Cubs' payroll and 34.81% of the Braves'. It's more than half the payroll of the leagues' two cheapest teams, the Oakland A's and the San Diego Padres, and the A's made the playoffs. When Rodriguez doesn't play, that's .1% of Afghanistan's entire 2011 GDP riding the Yankees' pine.
Oh, and one other thing: A-Rod, who has accounted for 13.78% of the Yankees' payroll this year and only 4.26% of its performance, is owed another $114 million through 2017.