The Yankees' problem is they are too reliant on Alex Rodriguez

BALTIMORE -- The New York Yankees' problem is not that Alex Rodriguez is hurt. It is that their success depends too heavily on a 40-year-old with two hip surgeries.

An offense built around such an unstable foundation is asking for trouble, which is exactly where the last-place Yankees find themselves.

Even as good as A-Rod hit last year, he is still a rigid, one-dimensional piece to squeeze into a 25-man roster. He only hits and never plays the field, which causes issues with so precious few spots.

Even so, if the Yankees are to be successful in 2016, A-Rod, their No. 3 hitter, is part of the original winning blueprint. That fact figured to eventually catch up with them -- and now it is sooner rather than later.

The real problem, though, for the Yankees' offense is that A-Rod, 36-year-old Mark Teixeira and 39-year-old Carlos Beltran are the ones who are most often mentioned as the pillars of the order. In an ideal world, they would have graduated to being complementary pieces.

The Yankees have more than a quarter of a billion dollars in contracts for offensive players who are not producing enough. Jacoby Ellsbury ($153 million), Brian McCann ($85 million), Chase Headley ($52 million) and Brett Gardner ($52 milion) really should be leading the way.

(In Wednesday's 7-0 win over the Baltimore Orioles, Ellsbury with three hits, McCann with two hits and three RBIs and Gardner with a run scored and an RBI did their part as the Yankees snapped a six-game losing streak thanks largely to CC Sabathia's turn-back-the-clock performance.)

These younger, big-money hitters should be the ones carrying this team on a nightly basis, so the loss of A-Rod wouldn't feel like such a big deal for the offense. Maybe it won't be and Wednesday was a preview of what is to come.

The Yankees, especially GM Brian Cashman, are very high on Aaron Hicks. When the Yankees acquired him from Minnesota for backup catcher John Ryan Murphy, Cashman talked about Hicks, once a top prospect, as a starting level player.

With A-Rod out, Hicks is likely to receive more playing time. He already starts nearly every time a lefty is on the mound. Now, depending on the matchups, he probably will be given more of a chance against righties.

When Hicks is in right field and Beltran shifts to DH, the Yankees are a better defensive team. That is a known upgrade with A-Rod's hamstring injury.

In the Yankees' best-case scenario, they have a dilemma when Rodriguez returns. The Yankees were 8-16 when Rodriguez went to the DL. They are 1-0 without him. In the Yankees' dreams, they improve without A-Rod.

For his part, A-Rod has been a good story since he returned from his PED suspension last year. The Yankees, after severely loathing him, quickly became addicted again to his offensive production. But it isn't really healthy for them. Perhaps his absence will be.