• Heyman: Yanks Brass Concerned About A-Rod’s Off-Field Action

    Posted by on August 26th, 2008 · Comments (15)

    Via Jon Heyman -

    Yankees people believe their oddly mediocre offense is what’s killing them, even moreso than the injuries to Chien-Ming Wang and Joba Chamberlain, the disappointing seasons and subsequent injuries of Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy and seeming lack of bullpen depth. Yankees higherups point to offensive underperformance from just about everyone, the notable exceptions all being outfielders: Xavier Nady, Johnny Damon and perhaps Bobby Abreu.

    The Yankees are going to come up many, many runs short of the baseball-best 968 they posted in 2007, and it’s not all due to the long absences of Jorge Posada and the just-returned Hideki Matsui. The individual disappointments from the perspective of club decision makers include Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano (“terrible on offense and defense” this year, according to one AL executive), and doesn’t nearly stop there. It even extends to Alex Rodriguez, whose numbers don’t look all that disappointing. A-Rod actually possesses the AL’s second best OPS at .992 (to Milton Bradley’s 1.029) but has come up limp in the clutch.

    He may be partially a victim of high standards, his otherworldy 2007 season and his second gargantuan contract, this one for $275 guaranteed plus $30 million in makeable incentives. But A-Rod is batting only .244 with runners in scoring position, so that stat line of .309, 28 homers and 78 RBIs isn’t quite what it seems.

    Club higherups are concerned enough about A-Rod that they are even wondering aloud whether his off-field distractions are affecting his play. But while he hasn’t been his best, to be sure, this team has far bigger worries than A-Rod, like missing the playoffs for the first time since 1993.

    No one had more off-field distractions than Babe Ruth. But, then again, I doubt that Ruth ever hit .244 with runners in scoring position. Ditto, across the board, for Mickey Mantle.

    Comments on Heyman: Yanks Brass Concerned About A-Rod’s Off-Field Action

    1. August 26th, 2008 | 10:02 am

      That’s a fallacious comparison, Steve.

      The state of media then and now makes comparing guys’ off field shenanigans impossible.

      Ruth and Mantle may have had as much off-field drama as Rodriguez, but it wasn’t sliced and diced by nearly half a dozen aggressive newspapers, three local all-sports television stations, a national all-sports network, sports talk radio and Lord knows how many blogs.

      There are no splits easily available for Ruth (at least that I could find) but Mantle hit ~.244 with runners in scoring position several times in his career (Note: Those splits only go back to ’56).

      1959 – .206
      1963 – .250
      1965 – .181
      1966 – .219
      1967 – .215
      1968 – .237

      Add to those (some of which are incomplete seasons due to injury) a pair of .274 seasons – 1958 and 1960.

      And for what it’s worth, A-Rod’s career BARISP is .303… Mantle’s – .296. A-Rod’s only had one season where his BARISP was below .275 since he became a full-time regular (his first in New York, .248)

    2. Raf
      August 26th, 2008 | 10:10 am

      As the article states, the club has bigger problems than Rodriguez.

      Unless he’s hanging with Doc, Darryl or Billy, I wouldn’t worry too much about his off field antics..

    3. throwstrikes
      August 26th, 2008 | 10:27 am

      How old is that Heyman article? A-Rod hasn’t been hitting .244 RISP for at least a week or more. He’s at .250.

      While .250 isn’t lots better, the difference between .250 and .300 is about 6 hits and those hits might not have even equalled runs or wins.

      This team has much bigger problems than A-Rod but he’s the one that writers choose to go after. It really is lazy reporting at it’s finest.

    4. August 26th, 2008 | 10:34 am

      Fair points Sean – and duly noted!

      But, FWIW, while Mantle hit .206 w/RISP in 1959, his OBA in those spots was .416 (in 150 PA). He had a lot of IBB and semi-IBB in those spots…I suspect.

    5. Raf
      August 26th, 2008 | 10:40 am

      But, FWIW, while Mantle hit .206 w/RISP in 1959, his OBA in those spots was .416 (in 150 PA). He had a lot of IBB and semi-IBB in those spots…I suspect.
      ————-
      According to B-R, he had 45 walks, of which 6 were intentional

    6. August 26th, 2008 | 10:45 am

      ~~While .250 isn’t lots better, the difference between .250 and .300 is about 6 hits and those hits might not have even equalled runs or wins.~~

      Someone’s seen Bull Durham.

    7. throwstrikes
      August 26th, 2008 | 11:02 am

      Bull Durham was a great movie but not responsible.

      3 semesters of college statistics is the culprit. It has trained me to look at differential to norm instead of just the number.

    8. hopbitters
      August 26th, 2008 | 11:39 am

      If the off-field distractions were affecting his play, wouldn’t they affect all of his play? Or do the distractions only pop up with runners in scoring position?

    9. August 26th, 2008 | 12:22 pm

      Ahhhh fancy book learnin’, eh?

      For the record, here’s the Crash Davis quote:

      “Know what the difference between hitting .250 and .300 is? It’s 25 hits. 25 hits in 500 at bats is 50 points, okay? There’s 6 months in a season, that’s about 25 weeks. That means if you get just one extra flare a week – just one – a gork… you get a groundball, you get a groundball with eyes… you get a dying quail, just one more dying quail a week… and you’re in Yankee Stadium.”

    10. redbug
      August 26th, 2008 | 1:09 pm

      This team has much bigger problems than A-Rod but he’s the one that writers choose to go after. It really is lazy reporting at it’s finest.
      __________________________________________________

      Maybe because he’s batting clean up and is being paid $30 million a yr to knock in runs?

    11. ChrisS
      August 26th, 2008 | 1:15 pm

      But, FWIW, while Mantle hit .206 w/RISP in 1959, his OBA in those spots was .416 (in 150 PA).

      Before bashing Arod, did you even look at his stats? Christ.

      Arod’s OBA this year with RISP is .405 in 124 ABs. With two outs and RISP, it’s .452.

      So with RISP, a rather small set of data, Arod doesn’t make an out nearly 41% of the time. That’s damn good. But his BA leaves him 6 hits shy of being a clutch god, apparently. Maybe he can turn the Gatorade into wine tonight to satisfy some people.

    12. Raf
      August 26th, 2008 | 2:20 pm

      Gatorade or Haterade? :D

    13. throwstrikes
      August 26th, 2008 | 2:45 pm

      Maybe because he’s batting clean up and is being paid $30 million a yr to knock in runs?

      _______________________________________________

      The 30 million is for more than driving in runs.

      It’s for offense but also defense, baserunning and putting butts in the seats. If all those things are paid equally, for 7.5 million a year his numbers are pretty good.

      Now Giambi is paid 23 million for offense only. Why does no one call him out?

    14. redbug
      August 26th, 2008 | 5:29 pm

      Now Giambi is paid 23 million for offense only. Why does no one call him out?
      _______________________________________________

      Because we’re finally done w/ Giambi’s contract soon and he doesn’t bat 4th.

      9+ more yr’s of Arod.

    15. throwstrikes
      August 26th, 2008 | 7:01 pm

      redbug

      and someday you will sit and tell your grandchildren how you got to watch him play forgetting all the bad and remembering only the good.

      Reasonible expectations don’t disappoint only insane ones.

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