Missing: A-Rod’s Power

The Importance of Mark Teixeira
David Phelps starting in place of Ivan Nova tomorrow
A-Rod‘s last home run. (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

On September 8th the Yankees lost a big game to the Baltimore Orioles. With CC Sabathia on the hill they dropped a 5-4 contest that ended when it should have been tied up. Worse, they lost Mark Teixeira again. What we didn’t know at the time is that the Yankees suffered another loss that evening: Alex Rodriguez‘s power.

Things were looking so brightly at the time. A-Rod had returned to the lineup five days prior, adding some depth to a corps that sometimes featured Steve Pearce at cleanup. Through that game Rodriguez had gone 7 for 23 with two doubles and two homers, including a homer on that very night. Missing Tex for a longer stretch would surely hurt, but at least A-Rod was back with some power. Right?

If only that were true, perhaps the Yankees might have been celebrating a division title yesterday rather than just a playoff spot. In 89 PA since that game Rodriguez has gone 18 for 77 with just one extra base hit, a home run in a September 14 loss to Tampa. That amounts to a .234/.326/.273 line, which defies comment. Worse, he has now gone 65 PA without an extra base hit. I’m not going through his game logs, but I have to assume that’s the longest such skid of his career.

In some ways the lack of power makes sense. Hand injuries are no joke for major leaguers. Fans like to joke about what seem like minor injuries — David Wright’s injured pinkie, for instance — but they have real effects on a player’s ability to handle and control a baseball bat. It has been barely two months since Felix Hernandez broke Rodriguez’s hand, so his lack of power is understandable in that way.

Yet those first six games after his return made things seem optimistic. He’d collected at least one hit in each of those six games, and then added another three in the next game, a 13-3 drubbing that put the Yankees back in first place alone. Combined with his post-All Star game breakout, 15 for 47 with two homers and four doubles, and it certainly felt as though Rodriguez could provide quality, if not elite, production for the rest of the year.

As Mike noted earlier, the Yankees will get their A lineup back in tact tonight, just in time for the postseason. He notes the issues surrounding Teixeira, but there are just as many surrounding Rodriguez. Both have the potential to carry the middle of the order, but we’ve seen both slump horribly this season. If there was ever a time for both to catch fire, it’s right now. Given their ages and recent performances, it will be even tougher to bank on them in the future.

The Importance of Mark Teixeira
David Phelps starting in place of Ivan Nova tomorrow
  • Jim Is Bored

    This is the most blatant dalelama bait ever.

    • Sweet Dick Willie

      Just as life’s certainties are death and taxes, an A-Rod post’s certainties are negative comments from dalelama and stuart a (although neither have commented yet).

      Actually, the post doesn’t have to be even remotely connected to A-Rod for those two to post their anti-Alex drivel.

  • http://twitter.com/jmhs Jake S

    Three cheers for the Yankees bidding agains themselves for that A-Rod contract, everyone. Christ, what a disaster.

    • Slugger27

      i dont get why people care so much. hals the one writing the checks, not any of us. he makes a lot of money, good for him. its not coming at my expense. i just want him to play well.

      • AnthonyD

        Assuming an austerity budget (or any budget), he is preventing the team from improving – and will get MUCH worse over the next five years. It’s not as bad as someone milking an NBA salary cap, but it’s still really bad.

        • Slugger27

          ill believe it when i see it. theyve signed a multitude of bad contracts in the past and it never hurt them in acquiring a player before. and honestly the AAV wasnt even a huge overpay in my opinion, only the 10 year aspect of it. so had the yankees signed him for say, the same salary and 7 years, which was his market value at the time, the austerity budget would be affected the same anyway.

          i get what youre saying, just think people make too much of it. if the yankees really want a superstar free agent, money has never stopped them, and ill assume that going forward until i see differently.

          • Winter

            I see what your saying about AAV in your first paragraph. I disagree with your second paragraph. The Yankees have never really had to care about a salary cap like they will in 2014. Even though it’s still a soft cap, the penalties will be much harsher. It won’t matter if the Yankees have enough money to sign a superstar free agent. What will matter is whether they can do so and stay under $189 mil.

            • Need Pitching & Hitting

              The penalties aren’t really harsher.
              Just the incentives for getting under are much greater.

              If they kept the same level of luxury tax payroll they have now in 2014, they’d actually spend less in luxury tax in 2014.

              They only have to care about the luxury tax threshold in 2014 if they choose to so they can make a boat load more profit.

      • Rafael Charres

        I’m in agreement. Let the guys with the check book worry about. But,this is all predicated on how we end up in the post season. I also think that A-Rod needs to contribute now, before he’s escorted out of New York; contract not withstanding. I would like to keep Ichiro, Granderson,and Swisher for sure. Ibanez ans Chavez are both very good utility players, including Nix.

  • DT

    He probably wasn’t feeling the affects of the hand injury earlier. But the more he uses it, the more likely he is going to feel an after effect.

  • Kingslayer

    Lack of PED’s

    • Go Back To Rainbow Connection

      Trade Arod.

      • Winter

        This would be amazing. Only one problem. If A-Rod and his contract are such big liabilities, who would be willing to take him (unless NYY picked up pretty much all of his salary, which defeats the purpose).

  • PhillyMatt

    Is a-rod entrenched in the #3 or #4 spot in the order for the rest of the year(including playoffs)? He should be moved out of there going forward.

  • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

    I’d like to see the order go:


    • Winter

      Gardner can’t hit unfortunately. I’d go:

      Swisher (vs L)/Cano (vs R)
      A Rod
      Teixeira (vs L)/Swisher (vs R)
      Cano (vs L)/Teixeira(vs R)

  • DJ4K&Monterowasdinero

    Who hits more this year?

    ARod or Ibanez?

    Sad to have to ask that question.

    Even the anemic Monsieur Martin has more than ARod.

    • Bronx Cookie1

      We have to see what the outcome in the post season. But, Ichiro, Swisher, Gardner / Granderson is my outfield, for next year. Ibanez, Chavez, and nix are very good utility players. Experience and speed is key on defense. Defense and pitching is the cornerstone of any contending team.

  • Srian B.

    I love A-Rod but it would be sweet if he decided to call it quits after next season (a season in which he will get his 3000th hit and maybe pass Willie Mays).

  • Squints

    ARod is def a shell of the younger ARod. I wont get into the greatest offensive season ive ever seen anyone have with his 2007 campaign. Hes overpaid but thats what happens when your the best player in the league and a free agent. And the last two years have sucked some of which id attribute to previous steroid use, the rest to age. I have a feeling Alex will come up big in big spot this year and not whiff to end the season. Best defensive shortstop in my generation other than Omar who is the goat of defensive at short.

    • Slugger27

      well said. agree with this post.

  • Chilango

    ARod in the last three years is about .270/.350/.475, reasonable numbers but nowhere near the superstar stats you figure he should be putting up. He may indeed be suffering from the effects of the hand injury, but the truth is he has been in decline for several years. Age and PED-induced injuries may be talking there toll. And the Yankees are stuck with him for 5 more years.

    Everyone is psyched over the return of Tex, and I hope he goes on a tear, but his numbers in the last three years are .250/.350/.490 again good but not stellar. He, like ARod, is in decline, offensively, and we’re stuck with him too until 2016.

    Maybe the Yankee FO needs to make some smarter choices as to who gets the fat contracts.

    • Reggie C.

      Dont forget to add that Teixeira has a full NTC.

      Anyway, Arod is 37 years old. The man’s decline at the plate is but expected and honestly the triple slash of .270/.350/.475 is something many here will gladly take for the next couple seasons. Teixiera really needs to pick up his game. The offense on this team doesn’t rely on Arod anymore. Cano, Granderson, and Teixeira are its clear leaders, and Teixeira in particular has to pick it up if this team is going to be able to hit playoff pitching.

      • DT

        Yea that stat line is still pretty good for a 3rd basemen, and well for any player in general. Sucks how overpaid he is but it doesn’t make him a shitty player going forward.

  • steves

    The only thing wrong with your theory Joe is the HR Arod hit against Tampa was bomb into the 2nd deck in LF. Did his injury stop/strength return for one mysterious at bat? He certainly is slumping power-wise but I’m not convinced that it’s irrevocably gone for the rest of the year. With Tex returning and Cano hot Arod will get a few more HR’s this year before all is said and done.

  • forensic

    Unfortunately, this was very predictable. He always struggles for extended periods after injuries.

  • Jose M. Vazquez

    I really don’t know where the power has gone but Paul Konerko, at 38 is doing quite well. I know all humans don’t age the same way but Arod only looks old at the plate not so much on the field.

    • FIPster Doofus

      Konerko’s 36 and, FWIW, his numbers have been terrible since the end of May.

  • JackC

    We’ll never know the answer to this, but I wonder how many homers the roids actually bought him. He’s gotten old very dramatically and suddenly. Again, there’s no way to know, but I wonder if the steroids contributed to his body’s brittleness beyond its years the past few campaigns.