Alex Rodriguez will be sitting on the bench tonight when the Yankees take on the Orioles in Game 5 of the ALDS. This is because A-Rod is mired in the kind of slump that 37-year-old sluggers tend to get mired in, but there are some who want to extrapolate more meaning out of his predictable decline. One of those people is Jeremy Schaap:
Schaap's implication that A-Rod now sucks at baseball because he's not on steroids anymore is stupendously idiotic for two reasons. First, it naively assumes that A-Rod is no longer using performance-enhancing drugs. Second, a dramatic dropoff in production between age 32 and age 36 is entirely typical. It's commonplace among anyone who looks at aging in baseball. Here's a list of a few great players who fell off a cliff—many of them more sharply than A-Rod—once they hit their mid-thirties:
And here is a helpful chart from Baseball Prospectus showing how a player's value rises and falls, on average, as he ages (in terms of VORP, I think):
Learn something about baseball, Jeremy Schaap.