The rose-colored, SSS glasses of Spring Training.
His range is shrinking at 3B. His K% is climbing and his BB% is plunging. He's changed his approach at the plate to swing for the fences which has dovetailed with his decline.
He averages 13 HBP per season since he's been a full-time player. He's 33. It's the years, *and* the mileage. It's not if he gets dinged up and hurt, it's when.
Huh? His K rate last year was lower than it was in 2009--when he was a 6.3 rWAR player with a 146 OPS+--and only about 2.5% over his career average. His BB rate last year was the same as it was in 2008--when he was a 6.0 rWAR player with a 144 OPS+--and only about 2% under his career average.
His main problem last year was a precipitous decline in BABIP despite career-normal LD% and career-high GB%. This is probably partly age-related speed decline, and partly, as you say, swinging for the fences--but some of it is probably bad luck. I doubt that he's really a .268 BABP hitter at this point.
No argument with your last sentence, though. He's still a good player, but an increasingly slow and brittle one.