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Alex Rodriguez

Bronx Tales: A-Rod digging himself deeper

Let’s get straight to it. From NYtimes.com:
 

Former employees of a now-shuttered South Florida anti-aging clinic and others who had ties to it have told Major League Baseball that the Yankees’Alex Rodriguez arranged to purchase documents from the clinic to keep them out of the hands of baseball officials, according to two people briefed on the matter.

 
Vin. My man. Thoughts?
 

  1. This is so predictable and pathetic. In fact, I predicted the unnamed player referenced in espn.com’s original article this morning was A-Rod in an email titled “A-Rod is a piece of trash”. Not that that makes me Nostradamus.
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(Not So Instant) Trade Analysis: Kevin Youkilis to the New York Yankees

New York Yankees get: 3B/1B Kevin Youkilis

Kevin Youkilis gets: 1 year, $12 million

Seemingly, former Red Sox come to the Yankees in droves (Derek Lowe and Johnny Damon most recently), while no one ever seems to go the other way north. Hmm. Must be something in the water. Or the air. Or the city. Or the fans. Whatever. I don’t have a vendetta or anything.

Kevin Youkilis agreed to a one year, $12 million dollar contract with the New York Yankees to be the team’s part-time third and first baseman, as well as occasional DH. The Yanks proclaimed throughout the offseason that whoever they’d sign would have to play a majority of innings manning third, as a 37 year-old A-Rod has proven that he’s not up to the stress of the hot corner day to day.

Well that was before a left hip surgery that will leave Rodriguez sidelined until at least May, if not the All-Star break in July. By that time, the former three-time AL MVP will be close to 38 years old and entering into his third consecutive season in which he only missed at least a fourth of the year’s games. In that sense, the need for an established third baseman became even more important, seeing as the most healthy hips A-Rod will be getting close to this year are Torrie Wilson’s. Damn.

Youkilis’ bat comes to the Yankees as a welcome relief from the free-swinging, narrowly minded home run team that notoriously self-destructed during the ALCS last year in a disgraceful sweep to the Detroit Tigers. The Yankees hit a combined .157 in that series with 36 strikeouts to only 22 hits and 3 home runs for a New York squad that set a franchise record for most jakks in a regular season. The Bombers looked more like Punters for four feeble games which really personified what the Yankees degraded to at the end of the season–a power hitting team that relied on the long ball for runs, rather than manufacture them and wear out opposing starters. In the end, against the very best in the American League, Detroit and very nearly Baltimore were able to expose the Yankees’ weakness by placing balls on the corners and getting a very strikeout-prone team to chase for nine games straight. For a line-up that were supposed to be comprised of experienced veterans, the Yankees looked like impatient minor leaguers in their first playoff series.

And if there’s a couple things that Kevin Youkilis is, it’s being a patient hitter that’s able to stroke the double and get on base. Even at the very end of his prime at age 34, Youk saw the third most pitches per plate appearance this year in all of baseball, behind the resurgent Adam Dunn and the surprising (MAMBINO favorite) A.J. Ellis. The former Red Sox’s on-base percentage slipped on the whole (.336), but was very solid after his trade to the White Sox at .346. In only 122 games and in a down year, Youkilis had 36 extra-base hits, including 15 doubles and 19 home runs. He’s the antithesis of what Curtis Granderson, Nick Swisher and of course Alex Rodriguez showed last October.

At the point in their careers, Youkilis might be in just as bad physical shape as A-Rod, but he might be a better alternative. As pointed out from our resident Yanks fantatic El Miz, here are the 2011-2012 averages for Youk and Rodriguez:

Games: Rodriguez 111, Youkilis 121
Hits: Rodriguez 115, Youkilis 107
Doubles:
Rodriguez 19, Youkilis 24
Homers:
Rodriguez 17, Youkilis 18
RBI:
Rodriguez 60, Youkilis 70
OBP:
Rodriguez .358, Youkilis .355
Slugging:
Rodriguez .401, Youkilis .434
WAR:
Rodriguez 2.9, Youkilis 2.5

The Yankees won’t miss R
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Alex Rodriguez to the Dodgers – Would It Work?

Well, would it?

Let’s hit the books here and lay out the facts:

5 years, $114 million: That’s what’s left on Rodriguez’s massive deal. It’s the remaining 5 years on a 7 year, $275 million dollar deal, the largest in North American professional sports history by over $20 million dollars.

$30 million: The amount in performance bonuses A-Rod could acquire if he hits certain home run milestones, from 660 (passing Willie Mays) to 763 (passing Barry Bonds). All in all, his contract could amount to a staggering $300 million.

647: A-Rod’s current home run total, good for fifth in league history.

37: A-Rod’s age as of the 2012 season.

42: A-Rod’s age at the end of this current contract–if Rodriguez had been 42 this year, he’d be the fifth oldest player in the league, behind Jamie Moyer (cut by the Rockies in February), Takashi Saito, Mariano Rivera (both out most of the year with injury) and Omar Vizquel (who retired in September). There’s little doubt that when Rodriguez hits the end of this deal, he’ll be one of the oldest players in the Majors.

.965, .933, .847, .823, .783: A-Rod’s declining OPS (on-base plus slugging) the past five seasons. Whether or not you understand sabermetrics, you’ll see that there’s little doubt the third baseman’s offensive excellence is declining significantly.

163: The number of games A-Rod has missed the previous two seasons. Essentially, he’s only stayed healthy for one campaign out of the two.

13: The number of hits A-Rod’s had the previous three postseasons, after his crushing 2009 playoff run in which he had 15 hits, six home runs and had 11 extra-base hits in 15 games. Since then, in 21 games, he’s only had 13 hits, 2 for extra bases and zero for home runs.

Everyone: The amount of Yankees fans that want him out of pinstripes by the year’s end.

Just A-Rod: The people who want to keep A-Rod in New York.

There’s little doubt that A-Rod’s second $200 million dollar deal (signed by the Yanks in 2007 at age 32 after he opted out of his original 10-year, $250 million dollar contract) was a gigantic mistake. However, at the time, Rodriguez had come off his third MVP season in five years with an impeccable record of health, never missing more than eight games since he became a free agent in 2000. The Yankees, as they do, had a very casual “spend now, worry later” attitude about the deal, not fully hit with the reality that like all aging baseball players, A-Rod’s late thirties wouldn’t be nearly as productive as his early-thirties.

Well, now we’re here. Rodriguez is coming off a postseason to remember, but for none of the reasons he’d want. In a career of ignominious playoff performances, A-Rod had one of his worst, smacking just three base-hits in 27 at-bats, all of them singles. The Yankees middle of the order threat had essentially played no better than an average National League pitcher at the plate, with at-bats so feeble (12 strikeouts in all) that manager Joe Girardi was forced to sit his $30 million dollar three-bagger. At the plate, A-Rod looked regularly overmatched, swinging wildly at breaking pitches and generally being made look silly against the likes of Anibal Sanchez and Miguel Gonzalez. The Yankees were bounced in their first sweep in nearly 40 years, though in A-Rod’s defense, it wasn’t just him that contributed to a historically bad Yankees offense.

As with any New York posteseason loss, no matter what th… Read more...

Snap Judgments on the Early 2012 MLB Season

Even with the NHL Playoffs hitting us right in our sweet spot, and the NBA gearing up for the most arduous playoff schedule of all-time, we here at MAMBINO HQ still have some love for Major League Baseball.

Most teams have played about 12 games so far, and even just 7% into the year, we’ve got some snap judgments on this young season that are entirely too premature, over-excited and amateur in nature. But like my love life, that’s never stopped me before.

How good are the Los Angeles Dodgers?

Better than I thought, but certainly not on a 132-30 pace. Let’s throw out the most basic and obvious truth about this incredible 9-2 start LA has had; before this series with the Brewers, they’ve played the Padres and Pirates 10 times. Those two teams, if my projections are right, will end up being two of the worst four teams in the National League (along with Houston and Pucklius’ beloved Mets). Their schedule has been ridiculously easy, and even with a mediocre offense, beating starting pitchers like Kevin Correia, Jeff Karstens and Edison Volquez isn’t a terribly impressive feat. Lastly, while Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier have been absolutely atomic at the 3 and 4 spots, producing 30 RBI in 10 games isn’t a sustainable business model.

However…

The offense has been one of the best in the National League, and it’s productivity has largely been through the strategy of manager Don Mattingly. Faced with the challenge of creating offense with a entirely marginal crew of hitters, Donnie has created a line-up that best utilizes each guy. With the speedy Dee Gordon leading off, the number 2 hitter Mark Ellis doesn’t have to be an extra-base hitting juggernaut, but rather just a contact hitter to move Gordon over. From there, Ethier and Kemp can swing away. With Kemp batting clean-up and either hitting doubles or stealing second, contact guys like James Loney and Juan Rivera simply turn into a Mark Ellis with slightly more pop. As well as Mark Ellis, Kemp and Ethier are playing right now, I wouldn’t be surprised if they came back to Earth a bit, but still maintained strong production.

The pitching has been exactly what I projected a couple weeks ago (amongst the league leaders in ERA, strikeouts and innings pitched), but with an offense that’s producing runs, they go from a very good starting rotation to an excellent one.
I don’t expect the Dodgers to keep this up all season, but with series at Milwaukee and Houston, and then Atlanta and Washington at home, it’s possible that the Dodgers remain looking like a playoff team…for at least one more month. 

Fantasy Spin

  • Ethier has always been a fast starter, and this season is no different. I’d ride him for now, but trade him at the very first sign of trouble. Dre’s been known for gutting out injuries (to everyone’s detriment), so his being in a contract year with literally $100 million dollars sitting on the table really isn’t going to change anything.
  • I’d buy on Mark Ellis. He’s scoring runs because of the massive production of Ethier and Kemp, and as I described, he’s in the perfect situation to thrive. Even as a modest .270 hitter, he’ll still score a ton of runs. I don’t think he’s a long term solution at second for any owner, but certainly ride him until Ethier gets hurt.

Josh Willingham, AJ Pierzynski, Corey Hart and Omar FREAKIN’ Infante are all top 10 in OPS. First of all, who are these guys, and who keeps this up?

I would say that t… Read more...

Instant Trade Analysis: Other Aspects of the Day the Yanks KILLED It

Even as the prohibitive favorites to win the AL East, the New York Yankees just got favorite…er. In fact, they might be the prohibitive favorites to win the whole damn thing. Because the New York Yankees just had a day.

Already excellently covered by BockerKnocker earlier in the evening, the Yanks pulled off a major trade tonight involving the primary pieces Jesus Montero and Michael Pineda.

This in itself is gigantic for the Yankees, and beneficial in many ways aside from the talent they had just traded for. With the aging, high-paid Yankees infield of Alex Rodgriguez, Mark Teixeira, Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano, along with Nick Swisher and Eduardo Nunez, the Yankees have multiple players that can play all four infield positions. Switching between these 6 men is a necessity manager Joe Girardi must deal with in order to keep his older stars fresh and ready for another 162 game stretch. That means DH-ing A-Rod and Jeter in particular, leaving rookie DH Jesus Montero on the bench for multiple days in a week.

So what to do with this problem? Somebody had to go, and seeing as he had such high trade value and lack of a heavy, multi-year contract, Montero was the logical choice to go.

Again, BockerKnocker covered what it means for the Yanks to lose Montero – he’s an absolute stud, and a homegrown one at that. But on the other side, the Yanks acquired Michael Pineda, a fireballing Cuban right hander, built like a tight end at 6’7″ and 260 lbs. If you’ve never seen him, imagine Ron Gronkowski’s body, with Randy Johnson’s arms, except young and perpetually looking pissed off. I watched Pineda pitch a bunch this year, and he is an absolute monster. Though he tailed off at the end of the year, Pineda killed the AL with a 3.03 ERA, and 113 strikeouts in the same amount of innings. Though projected to be a future ace, right now Pineda is most well-served to be the second or third best pitcher in any rotation – exactly what he’ll be with the Yankees.

However, I’ve got my reservations about Pineda in the Bronx. For most of last year, Pineda lived in relative anonymity. he pitched in the quiet AL West, for a team no one expected to achieve against a subpar A’s team and a oddly mediocre Angels squad. H estarted the year off with little fanfare, and even that came from only fantasy baseball nerds (me) and the 17 Mariners fans left. Without expectations, Pineda was the imposing juggernaut reflected by his hulking stature on the mound. But then came the accolades, the internet buzz and the All-Star berth. All combined, Pineda performed at less than league average in the second half – he still was striking out a ton of guys, but giving up more hits and homers than ever before. As soon as the pressure came, Pineda wilted even in the moderate Seattle weather.

Now let’s extrapolate this situation and add 69,000 times the amount of pressure that he ever had in Seattle. Tonight, people are out in New York, buying shots and dedicating them to the acquisition of Michael Pineda. With the Yanks faithful having to endure a couple years of D-list pitchers supporting ace CC Sabathia, a young, cheap stud like Pineda is a dream come true. I just don’t think that a man whose shown that he doesn’t respond well to pressure can immediately succeed in New York. This is not to say that he’ll never be the dominant force he has the physical tools to be while in pinstripes, but I highly doubt it’ll be an instantaneous and smooth transition. Overall, a great trade for a team that badly needed … Read more...