Feb
26

Instead of talking about A-Rod talking, let’s just talk about A-Rod

By

Spring Training went a bit differently last year. The players reported earlier because of the WBC, and by February 26 were already playing games. In fact, Alex Rodriguez hit a homer in his spring debut exactly one year ago today. This year we’re still in the batting practice and press conference mode, and that too has a different flavor than last year. That happens when you’re addressing a PED scandal one year and a World Series championship the next.

Want to read about what A-Rod said? You can find stories, quotes, and even full audio on basically any other Yankees-related website. If you want a quick summary, he basically repeated everything he said last year. The team felt like a family, he put all distractions aside and focussed on baseball, his hip feels great, etc. In fact, the most interesting part of the press conference came not from Rodriguez himself, but instead from MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo.

Now, with eight seasons and some $216 million — plus a few historic incentives — remaining on his contract, Rodriguez is about to embark upon a most critical segment of his career. These next few seasons are the ones that will define him in history — either as a very good player who did a few special things, or as one of the most sensational, remarkable talents to play the game.

I’ll echo Craig: That undersells A-Rod. By the numbers he’s a Hall of Famer right now. Not just because he has 500 home runs, but that he hit 344 of them as a shortstop, one behind Cal Ripken for the all-time lead. He’s currently 22nd on the all-time third baseman home run list with 229, remarkable considering he’s only played the position for six seasons. His 99.1 career WAR ranks 21st all time, and he should pass Cap Anson sometime in April. In terms of Yankees lore, in 2005 he became the first Yankee right-handed hitter since Joe DiMaggio to hit 40 home runs in a season.

DiComo is right that the next few seasons will define A-Rod. Very good, however, is out of the question. He’s already a great player. Without hesitation I’d define him as one of the most sensational, remarkable talents to play the game. The next few years will decide whether he’s among the 10 best players of all time. Will he hit another 131 home runs as a third baseman, placing him third all-time? Will he add another 50 to that and become the career home run leader? Will he pick up another 469 hits to reach 3,000?

Most importantly, at least to us, will he win another championship? Another two? Three? How greedy are we? As greedy as A-Rod himself, I suppose. “It becomes an addiction,” he said of winning the World Series. If he keeps doing what he’s done during his first six years in New York, he’ll play his part in future championship efforts. Maybe he’ll even break a few records along the way.

Photo credit: Kathy Willens/AP

Categories : Offense
  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

    Sorry this one was a little late. It took a good while to figure out the 21 players ahead of A-Rod on the all-time home runs as a third baseman list.

    • Tom Zig

      Any chance the Yankees let A-rod play SS for a couple games so he can whack a few HRs to become the SS HR king?

      • http://i.cdn.turner.com/si/multimedia/photo_gallery/0902/mlb.alex.rodriguez.through.the.years/images/1993.alex-rodriguez.jpg Drew

        No.

        • Tom Zig

          I wasn’t serious

          • http://i.cdn.turner.com/si/multimedia/photo_gallery/0902/mlb.alex.rodriguez.through.the.years/images/1993.alex-rodriguez.jpg Drew

            heh.. my bad. You can never be too sure.

            • Tom Zig

              I mean it’d be cool for him to be the SS HR king, but him playing SS would be:

              1. awkward
              2. cause a lot of unneeded drama
              3. make jeter sad

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

          I wondered the same thing when Joe and I were chatting about this one. I’d be great, but unless Jeter gets injured, they won’t do it. And even then, they won’t do it.

          • Tom Zig

            I can only imagine the drama that would spawn.

          • Chris

            What about in 8 years after Jeter has retired?

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

              A-Rod’s ability to play short is questionable today. I’d say there’s no way he’ll be able to do it after Jeter retires.

  • http://i.cdn.turner.com/si/multimedia/photo_gallery/0902/mlb.alex.rodriguez.through.the.years/images/1993.alex-rodriguez.jpg Drew

    Alex is the best payer in the game imo. He’s got plenty of MVP/WS Champ seasons left in him. This year will be fun.

    • pat

      Alex always takes the extra base, and I dig that about him. Very underrated baserunner. He’s truly a 5 tool player.

    • Mike HC

      “Alex is the best payer in the game” … Not according to Selena Roberts.

      • Bo

        I think Pujols may argue too.

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

          pujols plays 1b. anyone can play 1b. as an overall complete product arod > pujols. but not by much

          • H.W. Plainview

            Tell Adam Dunn that.

          • http://none Michael

            Can Giambi play first base?

        • Mike HC

          I was referring to Roberts claim that Alex was cheap, thus, he is not the best “payer” in the game.

    • http://none Michael

      You think he’s better than Pujols? I think he’s become the best hitter on our team, but the best in the game is pretty bold. Mauer is up there, and so are Utley and Howard.

      Arod finally had the October that all of us were waiting for, but as a Yankee fan, all of us know that most of his time here, he’s nothing more than a compiler. He has two MVPs, but I don’t think he was even the MVP of his team in 05. That, was Mariano Rivera.

      07, he finally started to calm down, but then again, it was a contract year.

      • Snakes on the mother effin plane

        Umm…nevermind.

  • bexarama

    I enjoyed that first comment on the Hardball Times article:
    A-Rod haters can piss up a rope.

    Indeed.

    • Tom Zig

      You ever try to piss up a rope? It’s pretty hard.

      • Hikker

        Not after 7 pints of guiness

  • RKelly39

    I find it funny when people speculate that this guy could be on the decline because he’s 34. I read today that he’s driven in 90 runs in his last 92 games. That’s a friggin’ RBI per game. The only thing against him as the best player in baseball is the hip thing and the roids. But if you look at his last full healthy season he was better than Pujols. He could still be, why not?

    • Tom Zig

      If A-rod could still play SS like he did in Texas…he’d be hands down the best player. But right now he is just simply the best player not named Albert Pujols.

      • Kyle

        Ehh, I’d take a few people over A-Rod at this point. Mauer, Utley, and Hanley come to mind immediately.

        • Mike HC

          Utley? Really. He is good. But would you really prefer Chase Utley to ARod?

        • Bo

          Utley while good isn’t in the Pujols/ARod class.

          • RKelly39

            I still think he’s the only player with a strong chance this year to be better than Pujols. If he hits like he did in the playoffs, he will be.

          • http://none Michael

            Didn’t he hit 5 home runs in the World Series?
            What does he need to do to get there?

            • bexarama

              You don’t seem to understand the concept of small sample sizes.

              That said, Utley’s like a half-step down from Pujols and A-Rod. Guy is really damn good.

        • Snakes on the mother effin plane

          Utley = crazy talk, plain and simple.

    • Mike HC

      Well, he has been injured for about 30 games each of the last two years. And last season was a very long season. Alex is used to either not making the playoffs, or getting eliminated in the first round. So, with the injuries he has picked up the last two seasons and the deep championship run causing more stress than usual, plus the age, it is not that far off to think A-Rod is more likely to have a repeat of last year, rather than his MVP type stats. I think he will be somewhere in the middle. Better than last year, not as good as 2007.

  • Kiko Jones

    A-Rod could retire right now and be HoFer.

    And yeah, it would never happen but it’d be cool to see him play SS and pass Ripken on the HR, nonetheless. Francesa would have a heart attack.

  • Crazy Eyes Killa

    He’s gonna do all that shit

  • smurfy

    FIPless pitchers beware: if Alex stays in the No Stats Zone, the Yankee lineup will be known as the Buzzsaw.

  • The Evil Empire

    “You have to be thankful that you have a job. Think about all of the things that are happening in the world. There are people who say, ‘I don’t have Gucci shoes.’ But I say to them, ‘You have feet. Be thankful because there are people who are worse off than you.’ ”

    Oh Manny lol

    • The Evil Empire

      Ahh thought this was the OT

  • Sean C

    After his surgery-shortened season last season, I CAN’T WAIT for a full season of him. For me, his first at-bat in Baltimore last season will forever reign as one of my top ten personal favorite baseball moments. A-rod and Tex as the 3-4 hitters of the line-up should be THE most feared heart of a line-up of recent memory. I hope that there are more than 70 homeruns and 250 rbi’s between the two of them next season. I feel like this is not an unreasonable request.

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  • http://steves steve s

    It’s naive to think that Arod’s physical health will remain unscathed by his steroid use. It’s bound to manifest itself long before his contract is up.

    • Chris

      That all depends on how heavy a user he was. From what he said, he was a pretty casual user, and it was over 6 years ago. I find it hard to believe that it would suddenly come up as an issue now.

      Of course, he’s getting older which will cause his health to deteriorate. I’m sure some people will blame that on steroids.

    • Bo

      Why would you assume the steroid use will lead to bad things?

      If they are taking controlled and administered by pro’s there are only benefits. The time of Steve Courson has passed. Thats the dark ages of ped’s.

  • http://yanksdraftsandprospects.blogspot.com/ Jake H

    I do wonder if by winning the WS if A-Rod will actually increase his stats these next few years. Mostly because the pressure to win is gone and he can just focus on playing. It’s crazy that he has another 8 years on his deal.

    • steve (different one)

      it’s hard to ask for much more than a typical A-Rod season, but i DO think there is something to what you are saying.

      A-Rod has a WS ring. Again, for emphasis, A-Rod has a WS ring.

      • dalelama

        Courtesy of Hidecki Matsui and Johnny Damon…LOL

        • bexarama

          Yeah because I forgot Damon stole home along with second and third. Oh, no, A-Rod knocked him in after that (awesome) double steal. Seriously, what did the guy ever do to you?

          • Dalelama

            Cost us ’04 against Red Sux….

            • bexarama

              Oh yeah. That was all A-Rod. Thanks for reminding me that he was the pitcher that couldn’t close out Game 4 or 5, as well as the pitcher(s) that totally imploded in Game 7.

    • Zack

      “Mostly because the pressure to win is gone”

      Is it? The first time he K’s in a big spot the morons at the stadium are still going to boo him.

      • Bo

        People boo performance. Fans are allowed to boo when someone fails in a spot.

        What should they do? Cheer if he strikes out with the go ahead run on 3rd and less than 2 outs?

        • Zack

          I dont think people should boo when you take 1 AB out of a 600+ AB season, because no one hits 1.000 with RISP and no pitcher has a 0.00 ERA.

          The point was that people say, oh yeah now there’s no pressure on ARod. Except he’s still ARod, he still plays for the Yankees, the Yankees’ expectation is to win a WS every year. Therefore, there is still pressure on ARod.

          If Yankees dont win the WS this upcoming year and ARod underperforms in the playoffs no one is going to say, “It’s ok, he won one last year.” The pressure is there every year.

          • Bo

            When you’re the highest paid player in the game there will always be pressure. And when he fails a few times in big spots this yr which will happen he will get boo’d. Thats Yankee and any fandom. Better to care than to not give a crap. It is why he gets paid the big bucks.

            • Zack

              There’s a difference between caring and being an irrational fan, I think we can all see that.

              ARod is a career .301 hitter with RISP, fans who care do not boo him 70 out of 100 times, fans who are irrational do.

              • dalelama

                I will continue to curse Arod every World Series he underperforms.

                • bexarama

                  because he did so badly in the World Series this year amirite?!?!?

                • DP

                  I’m 12 hours late but delelame and Bo are complete morons. I feel bad Bex when you fight the good fight and are left alone.

  • Rose

    MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo reports that Alex Rodriguez offered Johnny Damon some free agency advice this winter. Oh, so THAT’s why it took so long for Damon to sign…

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/.....cubs-.html

  • Bo

    These are the types of articles that give media members a bad name.

    Hasnt the guy been thru enough? Now he needs to be “defined” again?? He just dominated a post season and now the spin is “can he do it again?” “if he cant, hes not a ‘great’ player”. etc etc

    I thought you guys tried to be different from the MSM.

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

      It’s so terrible that you were forced to read it. I feel for you, I hope you can recover.

      • Bo

        Sorry we all cant make points and comment on articles. I forgot you were the comment nazi and believed in holding down free thought and dont let people have an opinion. Forgive me.

        • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

          If anyone else had made the comment, I wouldn’t have said a word.

          • Bo

            Then keep it to yourself comment nazi.

            • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

              No.

          • Bo

            You know that attitude Steve is exactly why your blog will never take off.

            You cant disagree with people in a thoughtful manner.

            • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

              I just hope you’re working on your guest post. Seriously, we’d welcome it.

              • Bo

                I’ll pass. Thanks for the offer.

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

              ok, i take it back. THIS is the most hypocritical thing i have ever read on this blog. man what a bizarro start to this day

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

          ::HEAD EXPLODES::

          seriously, this is the most hypocritical and fallible thing I have EVER read on this board. coming from you this is dripping with irony. i am in awe.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

      Where the fuck did I say that? Show me where my words say he needs to be defined, where if he doesn’t do something that he’s not a great player.

      I went out of my way to say he’s a great player. I also think it’s not a stretch to say that the next few years will determine whether he’s a great player or top 10 all time.

      Bo, seriously, read the fucking article before commenting. I’m sick of your shit.

      • Bo

        “DiComo is right that the next few seasons will define A-Rod. Very good, however, is out of the question. He’s already a great player. Without hesitation I’d define him as one of the most sensational, remarkable talents to play the game.”

        Maybe you should read your article Joe.

        This is a MSM type article about defining a player. Sorry that tag offends you so much. Call em like I see em

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

          You know what? I’m sorry. I said he will be defined. Though you asserted that I said he needs to be defined. Sorry that we think about players, and change the way we think of players over the years.

          Your last line opened my eyes, though. You do call ‘em like you see ‘em. Which is why I shouldn’t care.

          • Bo

            Glad you can admit you were wrong there Joe. My point was that is a typical msm type define a player every at bat type article. Which it is. You’re better than that.

            • Mike HC

              What is with Bo actually giving follow up responses now? He is usually one ignorant, inflammatory comment and out.

              Second, Joe should really not even respond to what he is saying. It is ridiculous. The MSM gets a bad rap around here because of their stupidity, not because they like ponder the future of an athletes career. RAB writes articles trying to evaluate future performance all the time.

              • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

                “Second, Joe should really not even respond to what he is saying.”

                You are right.

                • steve (different one)

                  Joe P. droppin’ F bombs. i’m very aroused.

            • ROBTEN

              My point was that is a typical msm type define a player every at bat type article. Which it is. You’re better than that.

              Bo,

              Earlier in the thread you wrote:

              “When you’re the highest paid player in the game there will always be pressure. And when he fails a few times in big spots this yr which will happen he will get boo’d. Thats Yankee and any fandom. Better to care than to not give a crap. It is why he gets paid the big bucks.”

              As others have pointed out, it is irrational to boo a player based upon the outcome of a single at-bat and that part of what has made ARod a great player is that he is above average in RISP situations. However, in saying that it is “Yankee fandom” to boo a player who “fails in big spots,” you are suggesting that you define a player by each individual at-bat, regardless of the broader context.

              So, leaving aside the fact that Joe’s article does not say what you are claiming, on what basis can you now claim a moral high ground against those that wish to define ARod by every at-bat?

    • ROBTEN

      Hasnt the guy been thru enough? Now he needs to be “defined” again?? He just dominated a post season and now the spin is “can he do it again?” “if he cant, hes not a ‘great’ player”. etc etc

      The article does not say “if he cant (sic) hes (sic) not a ‘great’ player.”

      The article says “Without hesitation I’d define him as one of the most sensational, remarkable talents to play the game.”

      and

      “The next few years will decide whether he’s among the 10 best players of all time.”

      In other words:

      http://www.urbandictionary.com.....lification