• Torre & A-Rod Don’t Mix – The Sequel

    Posted by on October 15th, 2006 · Comments (28)

    If you didn’t believe it when Jon Heyman said it three days ago, Peter Abraham says it again today:

    It may take a few weeks, a few months or even into next season, but at some point Rodriguez will be out of pinstripes. His mood swings and contrived emotions have become too much for Joe Torre and the core players to take. His entrance into a room routinely causes eyes to roll.

    When Torre batted Rodriguez eighth — eighth! — in Game 4 of the division series, it was a direct message: agree to a trade when we call you.

    When Torre was a player, his nickname was “The Godfather.”

    Sounds like Joe is going to give A-Rod an offer that he can’t refuse.

    A comment made here by a reader the other day on the Heyman feature brought cause for me to look up an old Ken Rosenthal piece on Alex from April 2005 entitled “Lightning Rod: Rodriguez has talent for ticking off peers.” In that feature, Rosenthal wrote:

    The Rangers do not view Rodriguez fondly. Third baseman Hank Blalock imitated Rodriguez’s glove slap in mocking fashion in an early spring training baserunning drill. First baseman Mark Teixeira, without naming Rodriguez directly, joined the chorus condemning him for his comments about his 6 a.m. workouts, telling a Dallas-Fort Worth reporter, “Everybody works hard in this game.”

    Rangers players nicknamed Rodriguez “The Cooler” last season, a wry observation on how he cools off every team he joins. Even shortstop Michael Young, perhaps the Rangers player with whom Rodriguez was closest, admits the team chemistry improved dramatically after Rodriguez was gone.

    “The pieces just didn’t fit. I don’t know why,” Young says. “Once we kind of got the new wave in here, it played to our strengths — being a super-aggressive team, going out every night trying to win a ballgame.”

    If (when?) A-Rod is traded from New York, it will be interesting to see the reactions reported from the Yankees players, etc.

    It almost makes me wish that Mussina and Sheffield will still be on the team – because I’m sure they will have something to say on it.

    Comments on Torre & A-Rod Don’t Mix – The Sequel

    1. Raf
      October 15th, 2006 | 10:50 am

      They can make the playoffs without ARod. They can get bounced out the first round as well.

      No matter how much the reporters want to make out of it, ARod is not what’s wrong with the Yanks.

      All this sniping and backbiting, yeesh. What’s the Captain doing about all this?

    2. jonm
      October 15th, 2006 | 10:53 am

      I’m sick of having to defend A-Rod (Outside of his numbers, I’m not a particular fan). But, if what these writers write is true, then it represents another chink in the armor of Joe Torre, “managerial genius.” Joe Torre is supposed to be a great manager because of his ability to manage the media and the clubhouse (he certainly is NOT even a GOOD in-game strategist). If he’s such a great manager of personalities, why can’t he deal with A-Rod, whose “problems” seem to more like those of the high school nerd than anything serious?

      Also, I think about all of the other inexplicable failures in NY (Rogers, Neagle, Vazquez, Loaiza, Contreras, Weaver). Why did all of these players fail in New York and have success elsewhere?

      Outside of Sheffield, who had mellowed with age by the time that he signed with the Yankees, what difficult personalities has the “brilliant” Torre ever been able to manage? Thank God that Manny never signed with the Yankees. Joe could never have handled one of the five best hitters in the game.

      Remember too that Joe wanted to throw Giambi under the bus during his terrible start in 2005. Only Giambi’s refusal stopped this. If Joe had had his way, Giambi would never have produced again as a Yankee.

    3. Raf
      October 15th, 2006 | 11:13 am

      Also, I think about all of the other inexplicable failures in NY (Rogers, Neagle, Vazquez, Loaiza, Contreras, Weaver). Why did all of these players fail in New York and have success elsewhere?

      Because they’re pitchers. Weaver and Contreras and Rogers had success here. Loaiza wasn’t that good Vazquez was hurt, and hasn’t really bounced back post NY

    4. jonm
      October 15th, 2006 | 11:20 am

      I don’t see how “Because they’re pitchers” is responsive at all. Pitchers are part of the team and a manager failing to get top performances from a team’s pitchers is very, very important. I also think that the success of Weaver, Contreras, and Rogers in NY is highly questionable. Vazquez tires in the second half, but he was very good in the first part of 2005 in Arizona. Loaiza was very good last year in Washington and he was lights out after the all-star break this year.

      For whatever reason, Torre did not instill confidence in these guys while they were Yankees.

    5. Raf
      October 15th, 2006 | 11:34 am

      It’s a valid response because many factors go into pitching.

      Rogers first season in NY was in line with his career (he cashed in on a career year), his second wasn’t. Contreras had one good year, one bad year. Weaver, the wheels fell off his first full season in NY. He struggled with the Dodgers, with the Angels and the Cardinals. Loaiza struggled with the White Sox before coming to NY, and had been bouncing around before then.

      Vazquez, the last 3 years he has been around league average

    6. jonm
      October 15th, 2006 | 11:50 am

      Of course, many factors go into pitching. Many factors go into hitting, fielding, etc. The one constant is that these guys have to be considered failures under Torre’s Yankees. They all underachieved. Mussina has even underachieved in half of his seasons as a Yankee.

      Who has overachieved as a Yankee?
      Brosius in 1998, Cairo in 2004, maybe Chad Curtis, Chacon and Small in the second half of 2005, Sturtze for a few months in 2005 (before Torre blew him out). One can make excuses for Torre, but those are just that, excuses.

      Torre’s list of underachievers dwarfs the list of overachievers. He’s won post-2000 because the Yankees have simply spent the money to bring in all-stars who have an established level of talent.

      By the way, expect Proctor to pull a Sturtze in 2007 given the way Torre abused his arm this year.

    7. Exit9
      October 15th, 2006 | 12:05 pm

      The only time I can remember Joe doing well with the pitching was when the pitching did it for him. In the good years, he had starters who consistently gave him 7 innings, then a set up, then Mo. But whenever he has to slap three innings together it seems like he either butchers the same arm that he “trusts” (Sturtze, Proctor) or he flails. Many blamed Mel for this in the past, but this year with Guidry it was pretty similar – Villone and Proctor. The common thread is Joe, sorry to say.

    8. jonm
      October 15th, 2006 | 12:22 pm

      I thought of a new slogan for potential Yankee acquisitions this off-season:
      “Come to Joe’s Clubhouse — where you can find the 16-year-old girl that lives inside of you.”

      By the way, I don’t think that the Texas situation is relevant here. Buck Showalter is a weirdo, control-freak who has never related well to any human beings. I guess with the aging Joe, ARod has ran into another lackluster manager. ARod had no problems in Lou’s clubhouse (By the way, this doesn’t mean that the Yankees should have hired Lou. Internal politics made that choice impossible.)

    9. baileywalk
      October 15th, 2006 | 12:27 pm

      Here’s what I feel about A-Rod:

      A-Rod turned the Yankees into losers.

      Let’s be honest here. Since A-Rod has been here, we’ve had the worst collapse in sports history, and we’ve been knocked out of the playoffs in the first round twice. People talk about whether this is Jeter’s team or A-Rod’s team, and in a way it IS A-Rod’s team. He’s infected us with whatever he has. That inability to win. Think about it: the first year he joined this team — the most storied and winning franchise in baseball history — it had a historic collapse. As much as the Yankees have won in their history, they are also now branded with the worst loss IN THE HISTORY OF SPORTS.

      The Yankees are no longer the Yankees with A-Rod. While there were certainly personality conflicts and things like that, I can’t remember the Yankees ever being such a soap opera. Even the whole Billy Martin/Reggie thing was more like a boxing match.

      A-Rod has turned us into a joke.

      And you can cite his numbers all you want, but anyone who’s ever been inside a clubhouse knows that a person’s personality can chill a team. Can affect a team in a negative way. I think A-Rod does this. I don’t think his teammates understand him in the slightest and I think they’re tired of dealing with him. I personally hate — yes, hate — Joe Torre as a manager, but even I cannot say I’ve ever seen him go out of his way to insult a player the way he did with A-Rod in game four of the ALDS. Torre was putting the blame squarely on the shoulders of A-Rod.

      It’s time for the Yankees to admit that A-Rod was a mistake. His relationship with Jeter never healed, and Jeter hated the whole thing (but was too classy to ever show it). A-Rod hasn’t been able to live up to the pressure, and you can see he presses every time he’s up to the plate. He came here thinking he was light-years better than Derek Jeter and that it would be easy to win. But he’s not and it wasn’t. Instead, he’s taken the team down with him — living up to his “Cooler” nickname.

      Take Alex, his sixteen million, and trade him to the Dodgers for prospects. And be done with it. A-Rod can get away from Jeter and carry a team, and the Yankees can go back to being the Yankees, aided by the young players we got in the A-Rod deal. If it works out that way, the awful A-Rod experiment would have been worth it.

    10. JeremyM
      October 15th, 2006 | 12:31 pm

      I think jonm has a great point in his first post. A-Rod just seems like that guy that tries too hard to be liked and fails miserably. He’s not a trouble-maker or someone that is going to bring others down with him. I think that at this point some of the other Yankees are using him as a scapegoat, Torre included. I’m not saying A-Rod hasn’t brought a lot of this on himself, but we’ve seen teams like the 78 Yankees win the World Series.

      And great point on Giambi, Torre tried to run him out of town as well. The guy that bragged about being able to manage anyone except the first incarnation of Ruben Sierra can’t handle A-Rod? Pathetic.

      We need to get those two guys from “Offic Space” to the Bronx: “So, what exactly is it you do, Joe? The bench coach makes the lineup and you hand it to the umpire? Now Joe, why can’t the bench coach do that? Oh, bench coaches don’t have people skills?”

    11. JeremyM
      October 15th, 2006 | 12:36 pm

      Jeter was just as responsible for the 2004 ALCS collapse in my book. I still cringe when I think about him swinging at Schilling’s first pitch for a flyout as the leadoff hitter. They needed to make him work that night and Jeter set the tone for a lot of hacking in my opinion. A-Rod hit a big home run in game 4 to put the Yanks on top. I’m not saying the guy isn’t weird, but it’s been a team effort.

    12. Exit9
      October 15th, 2006 | 12:44 pm

      I agree 100% with Baily on this one. If here is such a thing as a cooler, A-Rod is one without a doubt. Good prospects, and possibly a starter, are the best possible upsides in an A-Rod trade. At this point I’d like to see Cash make the best of a bad situation and deal the guy.

    13. baileywalk
      October 15th, 2006 | 1:05 pm

      JeremyM, I’m not blaming A-Rod SOLELY for the ’04 collapse, but you can’t deny that this team has been a post-season joke since he got here. Is it a coincidence? I say no. I say this guy is like a mold that spread to everything that breathes the same air it does.

      FYI on the bloody sock game you reference. “Making Schilling work” is easier said than done, since he pounds the strikezone. Also, Jeter had a hit and an RBI. He got that RBI in the famous eighth inning (singling in Cairo). The score at that time was a very winnable 4-2. A-Rod grounded out toward the pitcher, and instead of getting tagged or barreling over Arroyo, he tried to slap the ball away. When everything was cleared up, A-Rod was out and Jeter was back on first. Sheffield then popped up to end the inning, true, but what would have happened if A-Rod never pulled that desperate, stupid stunt, which sort of symbolizes his entire stay with the Yankees? (And caused a huge delay as policemen pointlessly lined the field like Yankee fans were wild animals; still the worst move by MLB in the history of the game.) We’ll never know, I guess. But I always get the feeling that, with Sheffield and Matsui due up, things would have worked out differently.

    14. Nick from Washington Heights
      October 15th, 2006 | 1:17 pm

      Bailey, would it hurt your argument that the Yanks probably wouldn’t have made the post-season without A-Rod in 2005? Or that without him against the Twins in the 2004 ALDS, it would have been a lot harder to get to the Sox in the ALCS? There are so many cases of superstars doing awful in the post-season (look at Frank Thomas’s ALCS, or Scott Rolen’s post-season career, or Eric Chavez’s craptastic performance the past two weeks, or Vlad Guerrero’s performance against the Yanks last year, or Gary Sheffield’s postseason career with the Yanks) that it seems particularly targeted to give A-Rod so much sh*t. I have to say that I’m pretty disappointed in Torre right now. If all this speculation about their relationship is true (and publicly they deny it), Joe was petty for scapegoating A-Rod.

    15. JeremyM
      October 15th, 2006 | 2:01 pm

      I won’t say anymore after this, but A-Rod did not turn the Yankees into losers, unless he had a voodoo doll as he watched the 2001 through 2003 playoffs from home.

    16. RICH
      October 15th, 2006 | 2:12 pm

      baileywalk, To me you sound either extremely paranoid or like a participant at the Salem Witch Trials.

      Maybe the team didn’t win championships every year because they were outplayed. I’m surprised you didn’t blame him for the losses in the years before he came to NY.

    17. baileywalk
      October 15th, 2006 | 2:30 pm

      You A-Rod defenders are hilarious. Say something negative about A-Rod and suddenly you’re witch-hunting.

      Losing in seven game to the D’Backs and losing in six games to the Marlins didn’t make the Yankees losers.

      Letting the Red Sox comes back and win four straight after leading three-oh (and losing to an inferior team like the Angels) made them losers. And A-Rod was on those teams.

      I’m not sure how I’m being “paranoid.” This team went from a great team to a post-season joke as soon as he got here. Isn’t that a fact? I said I don’t blame him solely for those losses, but he has brought a new, loserish feeling to this team.

      Nick, Steve already went over the ALDS in ’04 and proved that A-Rod wasn’t the only one who did well in that series.

      RICH, typical silly and hyperbolic argument by you that has nothing to do with the conversation.

      If anyone wants to disagree that the slap-play disrupted the game just as the Yankees were getting a momentum swing in game six of the ’04 ALCS, then do it, but please stay away from Fox Newishly suggesting I’m witch-hunting or that my mental state is unbalanced. Try to stick to what I said and its context. As hard as that might be for some.

    18. Nick from Washington Heights
      October 15th, 2006 | 2:56 pm

      Bailey, I noticed you avoid giving A-Rod credit for helping the Yanks get to the post-season in 2004 and 2005. And I didn’t claim A-Rod carried the team during that division series. I said he showed up and played damned well and without him who knows what would have happened.

      I guess it’s hard for me to take serious the claims that somehow A-Rod spreads a metaphorical cancer throughout the clubhouse. We were 3 outs away from sweeping the Sox that year and it wasn’t A-Rod who gave up the lead. But maybe there’s something to the cancer-spreading idea because after all, Mariano is A-Rod’s biggest supporter on the team. Perhaps, by virtue of hanging out with A-Rod too much (off the baseball field) Mo was infected by the the strain of A-Rod cancer and was rendered, for an inning, A-Rodesque (ie. unable to come through in the clutch). Or maybe, Mariano just had a bad day at an unfortunate time. Small sample size being what it is, it’s possible. But I guess I vote to trade A-Rod. There’s something unpleasant about the whole debate that’s developed around him. He’s tearing this fanbase apart. Even if it’s not his fault.

    19. RICH
      October 15th, 2006 | 3:20 pm

      I wasn’t writing my note to defend Arod, Sheffield also came in 2004. You started with 2004 yet 2001-3 weren’t championship years either. Who (if anyone) was to blame? Giambi? Mussina? Suzyn Waldman?

      I don’t think you give the opponents enough credit.

    20. baileywalk
      October 15th, 2006 | 4:32 pm

      Mo is A-Rod’s biggest defender? Really? I haven’t heard Mo say anything about A-Rod (which isn’t to say he doesn’t support him; I just don’t hear Mo speak that much). If there’s any truth to the fact that they’re off-field friends, I’m not sure what it has to do with anything.

      I’ll say it again for the cheap seats: I’m not saying A-Rod lost, by himself, any of the playoff series he was involved in (nor did he win them by himself either). But I stand firm in my belief that A-Rod DOES bring baggage with him, and that baggage hurts his team. The Texas offense is a close group. I don’t think they’re as good as they’re given credit for, but they ARE tight. Doesn’t it say something about A-Rod that he couldn’t get along with those guys and that they performed better as a group when he was gone? That even his best friend on the team admitted things were better when he was gone? A-Rod literally is “The Cooler” (I didn’t give him that name). When A-Rod is on your team, everything is about A-Rod. All questions, all concerns… “How is A-Rod faring today?”… “How does this affect A-Rod?”… “Will it throw A-Rod off-course is we change the urinal cakes in the bathroom?”… “Will A-Rod be able to focus if we switch to a new fabric blend?”

      I don’t think he does it on purpose, but no guy needs more attention than A-Rod. I don’t like what this team has become in the last three years. Torre has a lot to do with it. So does A-Rod. That’s just the way I feel.

      He doesn’t fit in here. And I think the Yankees would benefit from his absence.

    21. Nick from Washington Heights
      October 15th, 2006 | 5:04 pm

      The thing is, Bailey, I basically agree with much of your last post. Rooting for the Bombers these last three years means that any time I watch a national broadcast I’m faced with the annoying 4 hour dialogues about A-Rod and only A-Rod. And when I troll through the best Yanks blogs, one out of every 2 posts is about A-Rod. Personally, I think he’s getting a raw deal. But, at this point it’s beyond tired. Trade him away. Get young players back. Whatever. He is a lightning rod and I’m tired of the whole thing.

      And, yes, Mariano has been very supportive of A-Rod. The famous Verducci articles shows that he’s one of A-Rod’s few friends on the team. My point about their connection was a joke. You posited the idea that he’s a cancer on the team, that people perform worse when he’s around. Since the 2004 collapse began with a poor performance by Mo, I was merely providing evidence for your idea. Yeah, I know, it was a hilarious joke.;)

    22. zgveritas
      October 15th, 2006 | 6:19 pm

      If Torre was really sending A-Rod the message to agree to a trade “when we call you,” then what message was he sending to Giambi that night by benching him? To resign as a Yankee.

      Gimme a break all of you mind reading reporters out there. Sick of them. The sports pages are becoming more and more like Page Six everyday.

      I’ll repeat what I said earlier. Torre batted A-Rod fourth in Game 3 because of his great stats against Rogers. He was moved to 8th in the final game because he wasn’t hitting fastballs well during the second half.

      Sometimes when I hear that NY baseball fans are the best anywhere, I am beginning to doubt that.
      If they were, they wouldn’t be played for such suckers by the NY tabloid media.

    23. jonm
      October 15th, 2006 | 7:09 pm

      This thread has changed direction since I had to go out. Put it this way, if I have to choose between a guy who hits 35 HR with 121 RBI and a guy like Torre who does NOTHING. I’ll take the hitter any time.

      Clueless Joe has stayed on far too long. He has become far too sensitive and, quite frankly, he has become a bit of a wuss. He cried and cried about having to take the tough questions of KIM JONES. He can’t somehow manage last year’s MVP. And, for this and his yearly first round eliminations, he gets paid $7 MILLION a year which is more than twice the pay of the second highest paid manager. Think of this, Joe somehow makes more than twice as much as Bobby Cox, more than twice as much as Tony LaRussa. The Yankees paid him this, bizarrely, because they feared losing him to the Red Sox. If, by some bizarre turn of fate, Clueless Joe ended up getting the Red Sox job tomorrow; I would not lose one second of sleep worrying about how it would hurt the Yankees.

      The Yankees can trade ARod if they get the absolute maximum talent back, but trading him because Clueless Joe somehow doesn’t like him or for some mystical reason involving team chemistry (a la baileywalk) is exactly the wrong reason to trade him.

    24. jonm
      October 15th, 2006 | 7:16 pm

      Oh yeah, baileywalk, Texas has been so great since A-Rod left. A whole nation now has turned to the Texas Rangers and bows down to that string of third place finishes in a four team division (and for three years in a row no less!). All hail the A-Rod-less Texas Rangers!

    25. Raf
      October 15th, 2006 | 10:20 pm

      The Yanks, with ARod on the team won 101, 95 and 97 games. No problem there.

      As for ARod and Texas,

      Runs scored – Runs allowed – Wins

      2003: 5.10-5.98-71
      2004: 5.31-4.90-89
      2005: 5.34-5.30-79

      Why did Texas do so well after ARod left? Because of the pitching.

    26. Raf
      October 15th, 2006 | 10:26 pm

      and losing to an inferior team like the Angels…
      They both won 95 games. Yanks had better hitting (2nd in league), Angels had better pitching (3rd in league). Defensively, they were around the same.

      It’s not like they were a bunch of bums out there.

    27. Yu Hsing Chen
      October 16th, 2006 | 4:49 am

      Let’s put it this way, no one single handedly kills a team, just as no one single handedly wins for the team either.

      If there is a offer that makes the Yankees a deeper club by trading A-rod, there is no real logic to resist.

    28. David
      October 16th, 2006 | 9:29 pm

      ARod is the best all-around player in the American league. He was a golden glove shortstop and is likely to break Hank Aaron’s HR ecord. Also a top base-runner.

      He had an off year in the field and at the plate in 2005. However, his “off year” at the plate was better than Jeter’s MVP year, in terms of OPS (.914 vs. .900) and in terms of Runs scored + RBI (244 vs. 215).

      “Any manager who can’t get along with a .400 hitter is crazy,” said Joe McCarthy of Ted Williams. A similar comment can be made of Torre. A manager who can’t along with the best all-around player in the American League isn’t much of a manager.

      I’m sorry the Yanks kept Torre. Nevertheless, I hope they keep ARod. He’ll be winning games for them years after Torre retires.

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