Jan
29

Imagining the Yanks without A-Rod

By

You don’t need me to tell you that the 2009 Yankees were a very good baseball club. We all know how their season ended. We all know that they won a Major League-leading 103 games and captured those final key 11 postseason victories by the time the first week in November rolled around. Been there, done that.

Let me tell you though about one of the players who helps make the Yankees as good as they are. For 28 games at the start of the season, the Yankees were without one Alex Rodriguez, their high-priced and sometimes high-maintenance third baseman. Through those 28 games, the Yanks were 13-15, spinning their wheels and going nowhere fast. After A-Rod‘s return, the team went 90-44. By the end of the season, the Yanks were 82-42 in games in which A-Rod appeared and 21-17 without him. That turnaround might not be only A-Rod’s doing, but he was no small part of the Yanks’ success.

Yesterday, in an interview with YES, A-Rod spoke at length about his 2009 campaign. Even at the steroid revelations, the year started on a bad note for him as he needed a major hip procedure. For A-Rod, the comparison to other players cut down in their primes by bad hips seemed apt. Albert Belle and Bo Jackson were both destined for greater things than they achieved when hip conditions forced them off the field.

“I think I grew up a lot, both on and off the field. Staring at retirement right in the face, kind of like Bo Jackson. That’s the first thing I thought of,” he said on YES. “It was a commitment that I wanted to do for the team, and it was very scary. I knew I was putting the rest of my career at risk, but I felt that with the team at hand, it was a risk worth taking.”

A-Rod’s retiring at 34 is an idea no Yankee wants to consider. That would have been a disastrous development for the Yankees. Overall last year, A-Rod was a 4.4 WAR player, and the swing from those replacing A-Rod to A-Rod was approximately 5 wins. Although the Yanks are still good enough to have won without him, A-Rod is one of those players who makes the rest of the lineup better. His return coincided with Mark Teixeira‘s breaking out of a slump, and his presence took pressure off the rest of the lineup.

The Yankees could have filled the A-Rod hole easily this off-season by pursuing Adrian Beltre. The Red Sox’s new third baseman is a far superior defender than A-Rod ever has been at the Hot Corner, but except for Beltre’s insane 2004 campaign, A-Rod has been the better offensive player of the two. A-Rod’s three-year combined WAR is 20; Beltre’s is short of 10.

Now, A-Rod is primed for a big 2010. He didn’t need the second surgery, and he says his hip is feeling great. Outside of some rather mundane Kate Hudson developments, he hasn’t made headlines this winter, and I’m glad he’s around. He shed himself of the clutch burden and proved himself in the eyes of some of the game’s most judgmental fans. The alternative — life without A-Rod — is much, much worse.

Categories : Injuries
  • dkidd

    i’m feeling a monster 2010 for relaxed, no-monkeys-on-back alex

    • Steve H

      +4

  • Rose

    My pain…is self-chosen
    at least, I believe it to be
    I could either drown
    Or pull off my skin and swim to shore
    Now I can grow a beautiful…shell for all to see

    -Mad Season, River of Deceit (Covered by Alex Rodriguez)

  • Yankeegirl49

    But weren’t we told that the Yankees were so much better without Arod?

  • http://twitter.com/tafkasic the artist formerly known as (sic)

    the only thing that worries me about ARod is how many years are left on that deal. sure, he’s a superb player, one of the best of all time. but there are many, many years and many, many dollars to go.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

      And many, many homers left to hit.

      http://www.hiyoooo.com

      • http://twitter.com/tafkasic the artist formerly known as (sic)

        Obv.

        The good part is that he’s only due for $20M in 2017. That’s more bearable than it ballooning at the end.

    • JMK aka The Overshare’s Garden Apartment Complex

      It is a real concern. I don’t like any player enough to guarantee huge paydays until they’re…42?!

      Seriously. 42?!

      • JMK aka The Overshare’s Garden Apartment Complex

        Except for Bobby Bonilla.

        • http://twitter.com/tafkasic the artist formerly known as (sic)

          +1

          that story never ceases to amaze me.

          • JMK aka The Overshare’s Garden Apartment Complex

            His salary may be enough to get him a controlling stake in the Mets in 2030. They may be less valuable than $40 million.

            Sometimes I wonder if the Dolans and Wilpons get together to discuss business strategies for their respective teams.

            In fairness to Dolan, Walsh has some idea of what he’s doing (although I’m still really bummed he passed on Jennings, but whatevs).

    • Steve H

      At least the annual salaries drop as he ages. #1 it’ll leave more money in the budget, and #2, as long as the recession doesn’t turn into a depression, the annual salaries won’t look too bad based on expected salary increases in baseball. Paying him $30 million this year looks bad all things considered, but paying him $22 million 3 years from now won’t hurt so much (just estimates, too lazy to go to Cots, but it’s something like that.

      • http://twitter.com/tafkasic the artist formerly known as (sic)

        08:$27M, 09:$32M, 10:$32M, 11:$31M, 12:$29M, 13:$28M, 14:$25M, 15:$21M, 16:$20M, 17:$20M
        $30M marketing agreement based on home run milestones ($6M each for reaching 660, 714, 755 and tying and breaking major league HR record)

        And don’t forget this:
        perks: may purchase 4 best available season tickets for 2008, 4 Legends Suite or comparable season tickets for 2009-17

        Nothing like Roy Oswalt’s tractor, though.

        • http://twitter.com/tafkasic the artist formerly known as (sic)

          Nothing like Roy Oswalt’s tractor bulldozer, though.

          My bad. There’s a difference.

          • Mike Pop
          • Steve H

            Nick Johnson is a human tractor.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

              His career is defined by a large sample.

              • JMK aka The Overshare’s Garden Apartment Complex

                /Pete Lusitania’d

              • Big Juan

                That may be a real early candidate for quote of the year.

              • Slugger27

                whats the large sample joke? i missed it

        • Steve H

          Thanks. The good news is if he is hitting those milestones, that means he’s still producing. While he’s on pace, he’s still a long ways away. If he gets to 755+, the contract will be a success.

    • Bo

      He’ll be a nice overpaid DH. Not like they cant afford it.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

    Imagining the Yanks without A-Rod

    Hmmmm… nah, I’ll pass.

    • ColoYank

      Yeah, I saw the title of the thread and said, now why would I wanna do THAT?!

      I fact, we don’t have to, do we. We saw it already in the Handsome Cody Ransom era.

    • pat

      Imagining the Yanks without A-Rod

      http://tinyurl.com/yj59xq6

      /works here too.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

        pat, you have added value.

        • ColoYank

          Good thing we here in America don’t have a V.A.T.

          • ColoYank

            Value-added tax.

          • JMK aka The Overshare’s Garden Apartment Complex

            Only socialists know what that is!

        • Steve H

          What’s pat’s VORP?

  • Steve H

    Rumor has it that A-Rod has demanded a trade. He doesn’t want to be a Yankee anymore due to the offseason moves. I mean, Randy Winn!?!?!?!

    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Templeton_Peck Templeton “Brendog” Peck

      ietc

  • Rose

    Although the Yanks are still good enough to have won without him

    Won games here and there, yes. Good enough to win it all? POSSIBLY…but very highly unlikely. Especially with his clinic he put on in the playoffs last year.

  • Mike Pop

    Outside of some rather mundane Kate Hudson developments, he hasn’t made headlines this winter

    It’s good to see him out of the headlines for everything he does. But last night I read this:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35.....nt-gossip/

    Scroll down and you’ll see. Obviously nothing too important but I thought I’d share.

    • http://twitter.com/tafkasic the artist formerly known as (sic)

      I can’t blame him. Frankly I don’t know how anyone can resist someone who sleeps in a bodybag.

    • Andy in Sunny Daytona

      How couldn’t resist her after the way she looked at the “Hope for Haiti” telethon.
      I know it sucks to get old, but her face looked tighter than the High E string on a guitar.

  • A.D.

    Somehow they were able to get past the clubhouse cancer and lack of jumping ability to perform better with A-Rod than Ransom.

    • Mike Pop

      Sincerely,

      Ian O Connor.

      • http://twitter.com/tafkasic the artist formerly known as (sic)

        SUCKA GOT NO JUICE

        /rosenthal’d

      • The Three Amigos

        and Pete Abraham

  • Joe R

    Sad part is there are still plenty of fans who will still boo him and think the Yankees are better off without him.

    • Mike Pop

      ALDS Game 1, when he didn’t come through in his first at bat I believe it was, I heard some guy behind me yelling ‘I hate A-Rod, worthless’.

      I just sighed a bit, that’s all.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

        If it makes you feel any better, the guy behind you who said ARod was worthless… yeah, he just canceled his season tickets. So, there’s that.

        • Mike Pop

          I hate A-Rod. He stinks!

          /Bernie Mac’d

        • Steve H

          He was just following in his dad’s footsteps. His dad, you see, gave up his season tickets when, after winning the WS, the dumbass Yankees let their All-Star closer go, only to replace him some no-name kid.

    • Bob Stone

      More than sad . . . it’s just plain ignorant.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

        Fat, drunk and stupid: no way to go through life

        • Bob Stone

          Unless you’re proud to be a red neck . . . especially if you like to brag about your double-wide.

          • Bob Stone

            hmmmmm . . .just realized how confusing that statement could be. Is the double-wide referring to his trailer or his girl-friend? It could be either I guess.

            • JMK aka The Overshare’s Garden Apartment Complex

              Could double as both. I’ve been in some “double wides” I could fit my entire body into quite comfortably. Don’t even need blankets!

              • Bob Stone

                lmao

              • Steve H

                It’s funny because it’s true.

                • Bob Stone

                  Absolutely.

  • Chris

    Interestingly, it’s not the offense that improved when A-Rod came back, but the pitching:

    Runs scored in first 28 games: 158 (5.64 per game)
    Runs allowed in first 28 games: 178 (6.26 per game)

    Runs scored in remaining 134 games: 757 (5.65 per game)
    Runs allowed in remaining 134 games: 575 (4.29 per game)

    • http://twitter.com/tafkasic the artist formerly known as (sic)

      A wonderful example of how correlation does not equal causation.

    • Steve H

      CC settling down and the bullpen were huge parts of that. But still, have you seen Cody Ransom jump?

    • Josh

      remember thought the first 28 games included 3 CMW starts, which resulted in 44 runs scored against in those games alone. still better in the remaining 134 games, just not by as wide a margin.

  • Senor A. Boy

    “The Yankees could have filled the A-Rod hole easily this off-season…” Pause.

  • Jeremy

    However, it’s a known fact that ARod makes his teammates worse because he is a selfish clown. If it wasn’t for ARod, the Yankees would have won the 2004-2008 World Series and would have swept the Phillies in 2009.

  • Bo

    If 3 weeks of watching Berroa and Ransom play 3b didnt make fans love A-Rod nothing will.

    Get ready for round 3 of that this yr. We’ll see how many want Damon back after 3 weeks of watching gardner and winn hit.

    • bexarama

      oh you

  • yankee fan

    imagine the yankees with in-yah-face kate hudson and baseball fans having to endure yet another year of arod the centaur and his hollywood needy girl playing the their romance out on the field again, i might give up watching baseball period.

  • ShuutoHeat

    you are my centaur
    my only centaur
    you make me happy
    when you hit homeruns
    you’ll never know man
    how much I thank you
    please don’t take my centaur away…

  • KTEvent

    Ben, help me here. Why do you believe Beltre is a “far superior” fielder compared to ARod?

    ARod has always been an excellent fielder — at short and 3B. I have not seen Beltre other than a single game but the stats seem to be nearly identical based on ’09 results: Both played nearly the same number of games at the hot corner; both have nearly identical number on assists and double plays; ARod has significantly less errors (I think 9 vs. 14) and a superior fielding pct.

    Don’t know what the stats are over a cumulative period but last year ARod was the better fielder.

    http://mlb.mlb.com/stats/sorta.....yStat=FPCT

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      But the stats you cite don’t really capture defense. Errors and assists consider only the balls a fielder gets to. Newer stats — UZR for instance — contemplates how much range a player has and how many balls they get to, and in that sense, Beltre is a far superior fielder than A-Rod. He covers more ground; he converts more batted balls to outs than A-Rod does at third.