As Alex Rodriguez (above) enters a stage of his baseball career where he seems to be as useless as he’s horny, there’s no shortage of speculation this afternoon that tonight’s ALCS Game 4 could be his last in a Yankee uniform.  (not that he’s expected to actually contribute, mind you).  With the increasing likelihood Brian Cashman will attempt to swap A-Rod for another onerous contract (say, Heath Bell’s), the Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham takes this unique opportunity to praise the Red Sox for last summer’s escape from further obligations towards Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford.

Instead of watching the 32-year-old Beckett throw 91-mph fastballs the next two seasons and become increasingly recalcitrant, they can go get somebody younger, better and more team oriented.

Instead of counting how many surgeries Crawford has over the length of his seven-year deal, they can invest that money in a player entering his prime.

And while Adrian  Gonzalez was a hefty tariff to pay for unloading Beckett and Crawford, his diminishing power and problems hitting at Fenway Park are troubling signs. Now, thanks to the Dodgers, the Red Sox have incredible roster and payroll flexibility.

Unless they pull off their own miracle trade, the Yankees are stuck with an aging and expensive roster. They’ll surely pay to bring back Mariano Rivera next season. He turns 43 in November. CC Sabathia, who is 32, is signed until 2016 with a vesting option for 2017. Mark Teixeira, also 32, is signed through 2016. Robinson Cano will be a free agent after 2013 when he is 31 and will command a long-term deal.

The Red Sox were a wretched team and finished in last place, a whopping 26 games behind the first-place Yankees. But the Sox might actually have the advantage moving forward.