Some writers in NY have decided that the Yankees may actually be better off without Alex Rodriguez. RiverAveBlues talked about this a few hours ago, pointing out Ian O’Conner’s idiotic espousal of this idea, and Ken Rosenthal’s reasoned rebuttal. As Ken Davidoff states:
I don’t get it. It doesn’t make sense on any level, and the only evidence used to back it up – that the Yankees haven’t reached a World Series since they acquired A-Rod – could also be deployed to prove that A-Rod’s a heck of a player, but he ain’t no Clay Bellinger.
Let’s look at some numbers that display how much losing Alex will hurt the club. Although those arguing that they are better off without him make that statement due to his effect on chemistry, the loss of him in the lineup should more than cover whatever nebulous gains the Yankees achieve from his distractions disappearing for a few weeks. As of now, it seems fairly certain that Cody Ransom will start at 3rd base while Alex Rodriguez rehabs. Driveline Mechanics looked at some projections to estimate how many wins this will cost the Yankees:
A Rod has averaged about 4.4 plate appearances per game over the past three seasons. If he misses all of April and half of May (40 games), here’s the tally:
A Rod (based on 176 PA, or 4.4 PA times 40 games)
Offense: 12.6 runs
Defense: 0 (he’s very close to average for his career)
Replacement: 5.9 runs
Total: 19.1 runs above replacement
Cody Ransom (based on 152 PA, or 3.8 PA times 40 games; Ransom would assuredly bat lower in the order and accumulate fewer plate appearances)
Offense: -4.4 runs
Defense: there’s little to go on here. Let’s say -2, based on limited big league work and mixed results in the minors
Replacement: 5 runs
Position: 0.6 runs
Total: -.8 RAR (Ransom is pretty much the definition of a replacement-level player)
This is an admittedly rough estimate, but A Rod’s VOCR is 19.9 runs, or about two wins. If Rodriguez misses roughly a quarter of the season, his absence projects to cost the Yankees nearly two wins in the standings. Given how tightly bunched the AL East super powers are, that could be the difference between October baseball or an early tee time. Villanize the man at your own peril, Yankees fans.
Two wins lost is a huge price to pay to be rid of Alex’s personality and distractions. Looking at RLYW’s list of all third basemen and their difference in production from A-Rod, might it make sense for the Yankees to try and get a Jack Hannahan or Russell Branyan? Or do you think they should stick it out with Ransom?
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