With Alex on the shelf for the past few days, fans and pundits are beginning to wonder out loud if he will ever be the dominating player we saw in the past. Radio show hosts have wondered aloud how much he has left. My buddy Mike Silva from NYBD penned a piece this morning that asks if that contract will wind up being an albatross around the neck of the Yankees for years to come.
I wouldn’t be burying Alex’s status as a dominant offensive player just yet. We were just saying similar things about Derek Jeter a month ago, and now he’s playing great, turned things around and we find out that something was going on with his hamstring. When players are banged up they can look old at any age, and clearly something was going on with Alex. The Yanks were reportedly upset at him for not telling them sooner. As far as aging goes, Alex’s work ethic is second to none. So if anyone figures to age well, it’s him.
Another thing to remember about Alex is his contract was front-loaded, where he made 32 mil per year in 2009-10 and then glides downward to 20 per by the end of the deal. Here’s the info-
(Age 32)2008:$27M, (33)2009:$32M, (34)2010:$32M, (35)2011:$31M, (36)2012:$29M, (37)2013:$28M, (38)2014:$25M, (39)2015:$21M, (40)2016:$20M, (41)2017:$20M
While I was never a fan of the contract, assuming some Baseball salary inflation and that Alex shows up for the entire deal, it’s not awful. Also, it’s the Yankees were talking about here, who have by far the highest revenues in the sport. If anyone can carry a 39 year old OF/DH who’s making 21 mil per year, it’s them.
Next, the injury wasn’t in the same area as the surgery according to the Yanks. Here’s what Yankee manager Joe Girardi said on Saturday:
“I think anytime you get where you’re looking in that region, you’re going to start thinking about what happened the year before,” Girardi said on Saturday. “But being something completely different than the hip socket makes you feel a lot better.”
Finally, some have looked at his numbers from last year (post surgery) and think it’s reflective of a diminish player. It’s not, it’s reflective of diminished playing time. He missed roughly 1/4 of the season last year rehabbing from his hip surgery, and played just 124 games (535 PA). A typical season from Alex would be 150-155 games played and around 675 PA. He posted a line of 30 HRs 100RBIs and a triple slash of .286/.402/.532. His career triple slash in his time with the Yankees is .299/.400/.566. I highlighted ‘time with the Yankees’ for a reason, you can’t compare his career numbers that included playing home games in the hitter’s havens of Texas and Seattle (pre-Safeco). As a Righthander hitting in Yankee Stadium, we all knew his numbers would suffer a bit, but seem to have forgotten that since he’s had hip surgery. His 147 OPS+ from last year was higher than 2004 or 2006 seasons with the Yanks, and equal to that of his final year in Texas at age 27. Also, if you pro-rate his HR/RBI numbers from last year over a full season, you get 38 HRs and 125 RBIs, which is a fairly typical year for Alex in pinstripes. Pro-rating his number from this year, you would get 24 HRs and 129 RBIs. One good week of hitting HRs and he will be on pace to have a typical A-Rod year. Lets also not forget the monster postseason he had last year, post surgery.
What I suspect is going on here is that things are going so well with the Yanks, that were digging for things to worry about. But personally, I’m not worried about Alex one bit.
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