• O’Connor: A-Rod Not Long For Yanks

    Posted by on September 25th, 2008 · Comments (15)

    From Ian O’Connor on FOX SPorts (with a hat tip to BBTF) -

    Alex Rodriguez will be a member of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim by the start of the 2011 season.

    OK, maybe not the Angels, and maybe not 2011. But the point is, he won’t be a Yankee for the duration of his 10-year, $275 million contract, not even close.

    A-Rod carries too much baggage to the plate in critical, must-hit situations, and the process is wearing out a fan base still hopelessly in love with the Jeter-led team that built a dynasty around pitching, chemistry, clutch hitting and a commitment to treating little things as big things.

    They’ll need to persuade Rodriguez to waive his veto power for the good of all concerned, and they’ll need to convince themselves that eating tens upon tens of millions of dollars — and trading away the home-run record to boot — makes sound business sense.

    Right now, this much is clear: Rodriguez isn’t making it through 2017, not like this, not if the fans have anything to say about it.

    He arrived in the Bronx about eight years too late. So sooner rather than later, A-Rod will get his escape from New York.

    Only this time the Yankees will opt out on him.

    For what it’s worth, back in August, we did a poll on this and almost half who answered felt that A-Rod does not play out his current contract, to the last year, with the Yankees.

    Actually, the best way for the Yankees to handle Alex is to pretend that he’s not on the team…and build a team around him that can win without having to rely on A-Rod to have an “MVP” season to win. Sure, when Alex plays like he did in 2005 and 2007, he can carry a team and his life will be easy in the Bronx. But, unless he’s at that level, there will be a focus on him…if the team is not winning enough to be in first place.

    In my perfect world, the Yankees have a team with enough batting talent and pitching power where they can bat A-Rod fifth in the line-up…and the team wins 60% of the time whether Alex goes 5 for 5 or he goes 0-5. If they can do that, then A-Rod’s only job is to keep his mouth shut, stay out of trouble, catch the ball at third, make his throws to first, and hit some homeruns. And, as long as the team is winning, no one should be able to beef with that.

    But, if the team is not winning enough games to make the post-season, and A-Rod’s “the man” in the clean-up spot, then he will always be in a position to take some blame – if he’s not having an “MVP” type season. Fair? Maybe not. But, that’s just the way it goes in this town…

    Comments on O’Connor: A-Rod Not Long For Yanks

    1. antone
      September 25th, 2008 | 8:22 am

      A-Rod is not going anywhere. The fans have no say in this or else half the players on the current team would be gone. I don’t think A-Rod will play out his contract with the Yankees but that’s only because I don’t think he’ll last that long as a productive player into his 40′s.

    2. September 25th, 2008 | 8:45 am

      part of the reasoning into signing ARod to the long term deal, i’m sure, was the idea that the potentially best ever to play the game will finish his career in NY, break all the records in pinstripes, and go into the HoF a Yankee.

      he’s not going anywhere.

      i personally think they need to sign or import a cleanup hitter, and move ARod up to the 3 hole… whether that be Teixeira, Prince Fielder, Ryan Howard, Adrian Gonzalez, etc.

      it wont come cheap, but like you said, they need to go out and build a team with the idea that ARod isnt even there. then, they pair ARod and (enter name here) and they become lethal in the 3-4 turn in the lineup for the next 5-6-7 years.

    3. MJ
      September 25th, 2008 | 8:50 am

      The “every-other-year-let’s-blame-this-guy” storyline is back like clockwork.

      The guy leads the team in HR, RBI, OPS, VORP, and everything else but somehow his stats are the hollow ones. Jeter hits. 400 in September when the season is already in the bag and he’s a hero.* A-Rod has a better season overall and yet it’s his fault. Amazing.

      *This is not a rip on Jeter, it’s a rip on everyone who still insists on believing that Jeter is infallible while A-Rod is a steaming pile of shit.

    4. Tresh Fan
      September 25th, 2008 | 8:56 am

      The fans have no say in this or else half the players on the current team would be gone.
      __________________________________

      True. This isn’t “Dancing with the Stars” or “American Idol.” Derek, you are safe…Alex, you have been eliminated. But seriously, there are those who have been trying to foist A-Rod on the Angels for some time now with the rationalization that he’s what the Angels need. But is he really that good a fit? And for that salary?

    5. Yanks 4 ever
      September 25th, 2008 | 9:52 am

      First, Arod is not going anywhere. I think he is and will be the best player to ever play this game when all is said and done. He will be the true (non-steroid) home run leader before he retires.
      Second, I agree with MJ, every other year we need to blame someone and Arod is always it. What about all of the times this year that Jeter bounced into a double play to end an inning or kill a rally. It is time to stop bashing this guy for everything that is going on.
      Third, if Arod were not with this team this year, ending up in fourth place would be a reality and we would all be crying that we should have signed Arod, no matter what. This season was an amalgam of everybody in the lineup not contributing, injuries, lack of a bench, team age, pitching not being up to snuff,… I can continue if you wish, but you get the idea.
      Fourth, Ian O’connor is talking out of his ass, as usual, the Angels’ owner is a cheap fuck, does not want to surpass a team salary of $123MM per year. If he signs Tex, then he is not signing Sabathia or anyone else. The idea that the Yankees will pay Arod’s salary while he is playing for the Angels is so fucking stupid and irresponsible journalism.

    6. antone
      September 25th, 2008 | 10:39 am

      First, Arod is not going anywhere. I think he is and will be the best player to ever play this game when all is said and done. He will be the true (non-steroid) home run leader before he retires.
      ————————————————–
      A-Rod isn’t even the best player in the game right now never mind the greatest of all time.

    7. Yanks 4 ever
      September 25th, 2008 | 10:45 am

      Hey antone, who do you think is the best player in the game right now? As far as greatest of all time, I am not the only one saying that, but people with a lot more knowledge of the game than you or I have stated the fact. However, I would love to hear who YOU think is the best player in the game right now.

    8. antone
      September 25th, 2008 | 11:05 am

      It’s got to be Pujols. As far as greatest of all time…A-Rod will never be that..Babe Ruth is better, Mays is probably better, and Bonds even before steroids was better than A-Rod. Those are just a few that come to mind.

      A-Rod is a great power hitter and has tremendous talent but he is not a great “hitter” in the way that he approaches at-bats which is why he struggles in certain situations. That is what sets Pujols apart from him in my mind. Pujols is a career .330 hitter compared to ARod’s .306 and Pujols would probably hit that good average wise no matter how big he was.

      Pujols career OPS is 1.045 while A-Rod’s is .967. It’s not even close.

      Once A-Rod loses his power I think he is going to struggle big time.

    9. Yanks 4 ever
      September 25th, 2008 | 11:30 am

      Antone, if I was asking about the better hitter, pujols, hitting in the weaker pitching NL is better. As an overall player, Arod leaves him in the dust though. Babe Ruth is better, not sure about Mays. Bonds started his decline way before he started on roids.

    10. mikeF
      September 25th, 2008 | 12:02 pm

      silly comment by O’Connor – would the Yanks have been better letting ARod go and let Cashman continue on the plans of building thru the Draft where the Yanks just sh*t the bed and had a horrible draft??
      Two more picks would have left the Yanks with a 70 win team for the forseeable future, overpaying for prospects because everyone would have known they were in response to Arod’s departure, and without a right-handed bat in the lioneup?
      Its stupid reporting which has given bloggers their place on this earth, so i guess by reading the papers & sites we lose the battle but win the war

    11. antone
      September 25th, 2008 | 12:39 pm

      Antone, if I was asking about the better hitter, pujols, hitting in the weaker pitching NL is better. As an overall player, Arod leaves him in the dust though. Babe Ruth is better, not sure about Mays. Bonds started his decline way before he started on roids.
      ———————————————–
      He’s a better hitter period, just in his approach alone. Name me one thing A-Rod does better than Pujols other than stealing bases?

      Bonds was not in decline unless you consider declining as going from a 1.080 OPS to a 1.000 OPS. He probably started taking steriods after 1998, so if you look at his numbers before that you can see he was better than A-Rod even then. Steriods just made him better than Babe Ruth. Don’t forget you are talking about a gold glove outfielder and someone who was probably a better base stealer than A-Rod too.

      Bonds
      (Year/Age/OPS/OPS+)
      1986/21/0.746/103
      1987/22/0.821/114
      1988/23/0.859/148
      1989/24/0.777/126
      1990/25/0.971/170
      1991/26/0.924/160
      1992/27/1.080/205
      1993/28/1.135/204
      1994/29/1.073/183
      1995/30/1.008/168
      1996/31/1.076/188
      1997/32/1.031/170
      1998/33/1.047/178
      1999/34/1.006/155
      2000/35/1.128/188
      2001/36/1.378/259
      2002/37/1.381/268
      2003/38/1.278/231
      2004/39/1.421/263
      2005/40/1.071/174
      2006/41/0.999/156
      2007/42/1.045/170

      A-Rod
      (Year/Age/OPS/OPS+)
      1994/18/0.445/16
      1995/19/0.672/72
      1996/20/1.045/160
      1997/21/0.846/120
      1998/22/0.920/136
      1999/23/0.943/134
      2000/24/1.026/162
      2001/25/1.021/160
      2002/26/1.015/158
      2003/27/0.996/147
      2004/28/0.887/131
      2005/29/1.031/173
      2006/30/0.915/134
      2007/31/1.067/177
      2008/32/0.966/153

      A-Rod’s best season was 2007 where he had a 1.067 OPS and1 177 OPS+ and Pre-Steriods for Bonds (1986-1998) Bonds had FOUR seasons better than A-Rod’s best season:

      1992/27/1.080/205
      1993/28/1.135/204
      1994/29/1.073/183
      1996/31/1.076/188

    12. dgreen323
      September 25th, 2008 | 2:18 pm

      Definitely fair points.

      A-Rod has also played far more challenging defensive positions for his whole career than Pujols and Bonds.

      Right now I think you can easily say Alex is one of the 3 best players in the game today. His health and consistently spectacular numbers also put him on pace to have the career stats that will easily put him in the argument to be one of the top 10 or even top 5 players of all time.

      Also, could you please expound upon the idea that “he is not a great “hitter” in the way that he approaches at-bats which is why he struggles in certain situations.” This is extremely vague and I don’t see how it’s true. He’s a .300 hitter and draws plenty of walks in addition to all of the slugging. What is his flawed approach to at-bats?

      And “Once A-Rod loses his power I think he is going to struggle big time.” What guy who average 40 HR’s a year for a career, still looked great when he lost his power? This doesn’t make sense. Will Pujols be a better singles hitter than A-Rod when they both lose their power? And even if he is, when they both become singles hitters with mediocre SLG%’s, the difference between hitting .300 and .330 isn’t significant.

      When you use numbers to support your arguments it makes sense. The vague, general statements that you try to use to prop up your arguments really just weaken them.

    13. antone
      September 25th, 2008 | 4:14 pm

      Also, could you please expound upon the idea that “he is not a great “hitter” in the way that he approaches at-bats which is why he struggles in certain situations.” This is extremely vague and I don’t see how it’s true. He’s a .300 hitter and draws plenty of walks in addition to all of the slugging. What is his flawed approach to at-bats?
      ————————————————-
      I can understand your confusion with this because I was struggling with how to word it myself. I have a couple reasons I believe this to be true:

      - Pujols is a more complete hitter than A-Rod because he uses the whole field while A-Rod sometimes because too pull happy. I couldn’t find any historical data but Pujols hit to Center/Right of the field 50% of the time last year while A-Rod was 39% and I would imagine he is even less so this season. I think Pujols goes with the pitch more and A-Rod is easier to get out because he might try to pull a pitch he should be going the other way on. I just have seen too many A-Rod at bats where he just looks like he doesn’t have a clue. I think A-Rod could be just as good as Pujols if he went the other way more and became less of a pull hitter.

      - Pujols strikes out way less than A-Rod about 60 times per season compared to A-Rod about 120 times per season. To me that means that Pujols has better bat control and is a better hitter than A-Rod because he is putting the ball in play more often which gives him a better chance to get a hit. Striking out gives you no chance obviously.

      So that’s why I believe A-Rod relies more on his talent than his approach…he’s so gifted he can make mistakes at the plate and get away with them sometimes…while Pujols uses both his immense talent and solid approach at the plate.

      So because A-Rod relies on his talent more than Pujols…I think once A-Rod’s talent starts to slip he will decline a lot more rapidly then Pujols will. They might have the same skill set when they are both 38 years old for instance but I think Pujols will still be able to put up better numbers because of his approach at the plate. I didn’t really mean lose his power, I meant more when his skills start to decline which in effect will bring down his power from 35-50 range to 25-35 range.

      Basically I think that Pujols will age more like Manny Ramirez (130-150 OPS+ range), while A-Rod will be more like Griffey JR (100-120 OPS+). Obviously that is a few years from now, but I’m actually kind of interested to see how it all plays out and that is just my opinion on that.

    14. John ONeil
      September 25th, 2008 | 6:59 pm

      Bravo Antone. Excellent analysis. A-Rod is a spectacular talent by any measure. He will undoubtedly be considered one the the greats in history. If

    15. John ONeil
      September 25th, 2008 | 7:37 pm

      Yanks 4 Ever were content with that, there will be no need for yet another post denigrating A-Rods achievements or contributions. If he wants to argue that he is the best hitter in baseball today, let alone all time – that is a losing argument. As Antone points out, Pujols is just plain better.

      My issue with A-Rod is along the lines of what Steve says – his contract (and to a lesser degree, his personality) make him a focal point and even a lightning rod. With his contract, he can NEVER meet fan expectations. He will always fall short, especially in seasons when he actually does fall short (’06, ’08).

      The Yanks problem IMHO, is that A-Rod is not alone on that expectation pedestal. He shares it with every $15M plus player we have on the roster – starting with the free agents we brought in. Giambi, Abreu, Damon et al. Homegrown Yankee heros who worked their way up to those numbers like Jeter and Posada get more of a pass, but not a complete pass.

      In a sport where 3 out of 10 is the definition of success, having a roster full of players who are expected to come through EVERY time they come to the plate creates an environment where failure is almost assured. The ’96 to ’01 teams had a mix of players – some from whom much was expected like Bernie or Paulie and some from whom less was expected Brosius, Posada, and a large cast of other characters. We went away from that.

      Can we go back? Will Hank allow it? Can we do it with A-Rod on board? That is my issue.

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