Besides A-Rod, Yankees are spinning out of control

NEW YORK -- Perhaps the best player on the team right now, the guy who is willing to do anything for the club at this very moment, the one who is playing out of position, the one who looks dangerous with a bat in his hand, the former MVP -- who has had a few off-the field issues -- is the one that also is offering some leadership and wisdom.

"It is not time to panic," Alex Rodriguez said, tucked in the corner of the clubhouse after another loss, an 8-4 defeat to the Red Sox.

A-Rod played first base for the first time on Saturday and, though, he did have a second inning error on a routine play, he fought back with a leadoff single in the bottom half of the inning and scored.

Rodriguez played unevenly at first, but well enough to earn another shot when Mark Teixeira needs a rest. That is, if A-Rod's 39-year-old brain can handle it.

"My head is spinning," Rodriguez said.

A-Rod is actually one of the only ones whose head shouldn't be spinning. As for the rest of the dreadful Yankees, it is not very hard to imagine this team just spinning right off the rails and into last place.

Yes, it is only four losses in five games, the AL East is not very strong, but this team seems lifeless out of the gate.

"I think we are much better than this," Joe Girardi said.

Girardi is paid to think this. The rest of us can decide for ourselves. It is foolish to write off a team after a week, no matter how bad they look.

Still, there are troubling signs. Derek Jeter's replacement, Didi Gregorius, might have potential, but in one week as a Yankee he has shown a lack of baseball acumen.

He is 3-for-5 as a Yankee. In three of Gregorius' five games, Girardi has shook his head in the postgame over routine errors.

The latest was when Gregorius chose not to throw home on a three-run eighth inning double. It looked like Gregorius might have a play at the plate on Ryan Hanigan if Gregorius showed off his rifle of arm.

"I don't know," Girardi said when asked to explain Gregorius' lack of action. "Obviously, he didn't think he had a chance at home."

Let's put to the side that the Yankees -- outside of No. 13 and occasionally others -- can't hit, but they aren't fielding. Three more errors on Saturday gave them an MLB leading eight on the season.

"It is confusing," Girardi said.

It might be or it might not be. It may be these are the 2015 Yankees as much as they hope not.

"It is such a small sample size," Chase Headley said.

It is a fair point, but the Yankees are playing at home. The schedule is not their friend. A larger sample size may not be the answer.

After Sunday night, their next 10 are on the road (Baltimore, Tampa and Detroit), as are 16 of their next 22. They need to get better fast, because this season could get away from them very quickly.

"We have to clean it up," Headley said.

The problem with this Yankees club compared to their most recent vintage teams is they don't hit enough and, it appears, they may not have the talent in the clubhouse to do it. So the errors and the shoddy starting pitching is too much.

"We are not hitting enough to cover those up, that's the reason we are 1-4," Girardi said.

The one bright spot is the man some Yankee officials never wanted to see again. Rodriguez's at-bats are the only ones with some drama. Of course, he is not the same player he once was and, yes, maybe all of his accomplishments are tainted because of his drug use. He still is one of the most talented players ever to swing a bat.

These days, he is one of the only attractions to come to the park. On Friday, he batted third. On Saturday, he was at first and cleanup.

A-Rod needs to be a complementary player, but right now he may be the best player on the team, which is both an achievement for him and an indictment of everyone else.