A-R(Odd) man out: Yankees' latest deal marginalizes Alex Rodriguez even further

NEW YORK -- The Yankees have been quite candid about letting the world know what they expect from Alex Rodriguez in 2015: next to nothing.

And now, if there had been any doubt before, A-Rod surely knows what he can expect from the Yankees: maybe even less than they expect from him.

Friday's trade of Martin Prado and David Phelps to the Miami Marlins for starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi, 1B/OF/DH Garrett Jones and pitching prospect Domingo German does more than shore up the starting rotation and add a backup for the oft-injured Mark Teixeira.

It also advances the ongoing marginalization of Alex Rodriguez, who seems to be losing playing time and at-bats with each move.

Already this week, the signing of Chase Headley to a four-year deal effectively ended A-Rod's days as the Yankees' third baseman. And the acquisition of Jones, a decent lefty power hitter who has averaged 19 home runs per year over the past six years, has further implications for A-Rod's Yankees future, or lack thereof.

Jones has played most of his major league games at first base. So much for the idea of having A-Rod take grounders at first this spring to prepare for some Teixeira backup duty. And with the Yankees already carrying four outfielders -- Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner, Carlos Beltran and Chris Young -- it seems likely that when Jones isn't at first, he will be getting a good amount of lefty DH at-bats as the Yankees hope to exploit the apparent mismatch of hid power stroke vs. their homer-friendly right-field fence.

So it appears that Alex Rodriguez, with 654 career home runs and $61 million in Yankee paychecks due him, has been reduced to a part-time DH at best.

There is a school of thought that this is all part of the Yankees' plan to humiliate Rodriguez to the point that he will quit and leave his money behind, but there's about as much chance of that as there is of Joe Girardi becoming the frontman for a hip-hop group. Still, with no legal recourse to void A-Rod's contract and apparently little stomach for paying off his contract and releasing him, humiliation may be the only weapon the Yankees have left.

Short of a permanently disabling injury that would allow both parties to go their separate ways with some measure of dignity and financial satisfaction -- A-Rod would get the rest of the money owed on his contract and the Yankees would recoup some insurance money -- this could continue to be a long, drawn-out, messy divorce.