• To Live And Die With A-Rod

    Posted by on November 15th, 2007 · Comments (17)

    From many sources, it appears that Alex Rodriguez is returning to the Yankees.

    I cannot lie about this: There was a part of me that was really looking forward to the end of A-Rod’s Big Apple Circus. And, I’m still not sure that I want him to be the face of the Yankees franchise for the next decade. Hair-highlights, hookers, and screaming “Ha!” are not things that I like to see in Yankeeland.

    Then again, it is about producing on the field, right? And, that’s something that A-Rod does well. Actually, anyone who knows anything about Babe Ruth can tell you that he was a nightmare to handle – but, the Yankees dealt with that because of his bat. And, say what you want about Alex, but, you cannot say that he dogs it on the field. The guy shows up to play, everyday, and he hustles on the field. Rodriguez is not in the Manny Ramirez class of headaches that you must suffer in exchange for a bat.

    Of course, there’s the issue of A-Rod’s post-season failures. However, Alex is not the first baseball player with great talent to have a terrible spell in October. Plus, while Alex has not helped the Yankees in recent post-seasons, he’s not the reason why the Yankees have not advanced much in the playoffs since 2004.

    The thing that does concern me the most now about Rodriguez coming back is the value and length of the contract that we’re hearing about. Most reports have it, at a minimum, around $275-280 million for 10 years. I would have preferred to see a deal around seven years. Thinking about paying a 39-40-41 year-old player $27 million a year, when it’s 2015- 2016- 2017, seems like a really bad deal. Then again, if above-average players are making $13 million a year today, maybe $27 million in 2015 won’t be as much money as it seems now?

    In the end, Yankees fans, it really doesn’t matter if you’re upset that A-Rod is back or if you’re thrilled about it. And, it doesn’t matter if you think his contract is a great deal for the team or an albatross waiting to hatch out of its egg. The fact of the matter is that Alex is back, he’s going to be the highest paid player in the game and will have to deal with the attention that comes with that profile, and that’s the way that it’s probably going to be in Yankeeland for a long time.

    “You have to dance with the girl that brought you” is an old expression. Now that Hank Steinbrenner and gang have brought Alex Rodriguez back to the Bronx, I’m going to borrow from that expression and offer “You have to live with the A-Rod that the Yankees bought you.” It’s up to you on how you want to spend that life – enjoy it, suffer through it, or just ignore it. When two of the three options are painless, that’s really not so bad.

    Comments on To Live And Die With A-Rod

    1. #15
      November 15th, 2007 | 11:47 am

      Without A-Rod, the Yankees likely miss the playoffs last year. Since he’s been here the team is better with him than without him compared to any other 3rd baseman. We can only imagine what kind of terror he’d have been at the plate if Matsui/Giambi were really mashing in the 5 hole on a consistent basis (Matsui had the quietest 100RBI season I can remember). A-Rod is capable of carrying a team on his back for periods of time, and I think this year in particular, he started to enjoy himself and relate to the young guys. Haters will be haters and big players with big contracts make big targets. But, true aficionados of the game know that the guy can play like few others have ever have played and he does play hard all the time. I don’t like the drama and I doubt I’ll ever look at him quite like I do DJ, Thurman, Donnie, Bernie, Mickey, Yogi, Mo, Jorge. But, he’s not near the problem that Reggie or Winfield were, and with this new contract, some (certainly not all) of the drama will die down. There is no way he’ll have opt-out clauses to talk about like we’ve had for the past 24 months. Hope he can keep his wick dry, or at least off the covers of the tabloids. I think the Steins deserve credit for how the handled this, particularly the comment about not wanting him if he didn’t want to be a Yankee. Hip, hip hooray! We are a special team because of both our winning tradition and our self-imposed standards of excellence. I know he’s getting paid and paid very well, but naysayers aside, A-Rod realized this was 1) the best gig out there, and 2) the best path to baseball immortality (and a monument next to Ruth, Gehrig, Joe D. and some other pretty good players). He could have been a hero in a bunch of places, but being the prettiest girls in Bugtussle won’t be remembered in 100 years. Perhaps we just saw A-Rod grow-up and shake off some of the father issues that Boras had preyed on.

    2. Mike
      November 15th, 2007 | 11:53 am

      Let’s remember one thing: This process isn’t over yet… always remember who has Alex’s ear.

      Boras still has an incredible amount of influence and if you think he is not on the phone talking to someone about something, you are living in fantasy land.

      I will believe A-Rod is a Yankee again when I see the press conference.

    3. jonm
      November 15th, 2007 | 12:04 pm

      I agree with everything you say, #15, EXCEPT your unfair swipe at Dave Winfield. Recently, for fun, I went back and read old copies of the Sporting News at paperofrecord.com (a fun thing to do by the way) and it’s clear to me that the Winfield stuff was entirely Steinbrenner’s fault. We forget, but the way that Steinbrenner treated Winfield was just plain insane. Of all of the well-known examples over the years, Winfield and Yogi have the most legitimate reasons to have bitter feelings toward Steinbrenner.

    4. jonm
      November 15th, 2007 | 12:20 pm

      Like Steve, I was sort of relieved that the A-Rod circus was coming to an end. Then, I got a look at the ugly alternatives and got scared.

      A-Rod only costs money and that money would have had to go to players who are inferior to A-Rod. Miguel Cabrera would have cost at least Hughes and Tabata and they would have had to give him, a future 1B/DH type, A-Rod like money in two years.

      The options for a everyday players at other positions also looked bleak over the next few years. An impact everyday player like A-Rod simply wouldn’t be available in the foreseeable future. (Pujols doesn’t become a free agent until after the 2011 season, for example.)

    5. #15
      November 15th, 2007 | 12:39 pm

      Mike,
      Fair enough. It’s not a deal until it’s a deal. Considering were this has been, if I were the Yankee’s I’d have demanded a 5-10 day window to get this done with no other negotiation with other teams in that period. If not, enjoy Chicago or LA big guy.

      jonm,
      Fair enough. Steins behavior at the time was a low blow, below the organization’s standards. Still, it never seemed to me, and maybe Big Stein, that Winfield ever saw being a Yankee as a privilege. Some unconfirmed reports of him asking for a big check in exchange for him requesting a Yankee cap in the HOF would be in line with that sentiment.

    6. jakes
      November 15th, 2007 | 1:05 pm

      –A-Rod realized this was 1) the best gig out there, and 2) the best path to baseball immortality (and a monument next to Ruth, Gehrig, Joe D. and some other pretty good players).
      Posted by: #15–

      #3. He can make 270 or more million with the yankees or he could make 100 million somewhere else according to buster olney. So you might want to include that one, or hell, put it at #1 and drop the romantic notions you’re trying to sell.

      (unless by best gig you meant ‘most money’ and then you hit the nail on the head)

    7. jonm
      November 15th, 2007 | 1:05 pm

      Still, it never seemed to me, and maybe Big Stein, that Winfield ever saw being a Yankee as a privilege.
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      Fair enough, but I’m not sure that being a Yankee in the 80s felt like much of a privilege. I don’t think that a younger fan could possibly understand how crazy the 80s were for the Yankees and their fans.

    8. #15
      November 15th, 2007 | 1:49 pm

      (unless by best gig you meant ‘most money’ and then you hit the nail on the head)

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      A-Rod could have gotten 10 years ~ 22-24/per from any of several teams, including a few with lower implications than NY. But of course the money is a big, perhaps the biggest, part of what makes this the best gig. So is the celebrity, the endorsements that come out of a huge market setting, the chance to play in front a huge crowd every night, and being mentioned in the same breath as those other guys I listed. Sounds to me like you haven’t been to many other ballparks to watch games. I have, and nothing comes close to the energy at Yankee Stadium day in, day out, year after year. Let’s put it this way….. A-Rod could have had an over-sized bronze statue of himself outside the Ball Park at Arlington. Sitting all alone on the windy plateau. Don’t get me wrong Arlington is a fine place to see a game and is actually more comfortable than the current Yankee Stadium. You can deny it if you want (all the haters do), but it’s not Yankee Stadium. Or this way… Very few people make what constitutes a lifetime pilgrimage to see a ball game in San Francisco. Happens at Yankee Stadium every day.

    9. Don
      November 15th, 2007 | 2:00 pm

      Too bad, too bad. Nothing I can do about it, but too bad.

      And my gut feeling is that Bora$$ and A-Freud played the Yankees like a fiddle. There was no $100 million more out there, anywhere. In the best tradition of GS, the Yankees negotiated with themselves. Just as they did with Posada.

      Now to extend Giambi………..

    10. baileywalk
      November 15th, 2007 | 2:14 pm

      What does it say about A-Rod — one of the best hitters in baseball, and one of the greatest players in history — that for a lot of Yankee fans, myself included, we’re happy to have him back, but we almost kind of wish he went away?

      I always thought it made the most sense for him to stay with the Yankees — biggest market, most money, etc. I think Boras simply misplayed things and now he’s taking a beating in the press. However, this idea that A-Rod is coming back hat in hand makes me laugh. Every player in baseball would come back not just with hat in hand, but crawling across glass to kiss Hank’s ass for 270 dollars. Hell, he’s still getting the biggest contract in baseball history. So why is there this tone that A-Rod is being humbled? He’s getting everything he wanted — even after he treated the Yankees harshly.

      I wonder if this opt-out drama puts A-Rod back to square one with the fans. They really started to like him — and then he caused all this anger by blowing the team off.

      In the end, having A-Rod on the team makes it a better team on the field (though the distractions he brings ARE a negative). With Jorge, Mo, Pettitte (hopefully) and A-Rod back, and Hughes, Chamberlain and maybe Kennedy in the rotation, this should be an improved team next year.

    11. Razor
      November 15th, 2007 | 2:57 pm

      This is a no-brainer for the yanks. Bring him back, even if it’s 300 mill for 10 years. We can afford it, we need a RH bat, we need a 3b, we need a cleanup hitter, we don’t have to give up a young player(s), i’m sure much of it will be made up by selling t-shirts etc. A win-win for both sides, both sides maximize the value of the other. Now let’s go get a SP1 – dan haren??

    12. SteveB
      November 15th, 2007 | 3:20 pm

      Hookers?? What are you, 11 years old?

    13. Raf
      November 15th, 2007 | 3:41 pm

      Very few people make what constitutes a lifetime pilgrimage to see a ball game in San Francisco. Happens at Yankee Stadium every day.
      =============
      Fenway & Wrigley come to mind…

    14. Jen
      November 15th, 2007 | 10:14 pm

      //Hookers?? What are you, 11 years old?//

      Thanks SteveB. I thought I was the only one who noticed that.

    15. November 15th, 2007 | 10:38 pm

      Hey, I was going for the alliteration angle, and needed something to go with “Ha!” and “Hair-highlights.”

      Besides, you don’t think his blonde girl-friend is on the payroll?

    16. Jen
      November 15th, 2007 | 11:12 pm

      Yeah, I figured you were going with the alliteration angle, but that still doesn’t fly with me.

      On the payroll? I’m sure he takes care of his girl(s) on the side in some way, as I’m sure nearly all MLB players do. But to call her a hooker? C’mon Steve, you’re above that. Aren’t you?

    17. November 16th, 2007 | 7:35 am

      Obviuosly, not.

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