I was unhappy when the Yankees traded Alfonso Soriano for Alex Rodriguez. Back then I wasn’t as informed about baseball statistics as I am now. Even though the Yankees had clearly upgraded, I criticized the deal for all the bad intangibles A-Rod supposedly brought to the table, his un-clutchiness, his prima donna reputation, you know, things that had nothing to do with playing baseball. While I felt Alex had a solid season in 2004 and was unstoppable that ALDS against the Twins, I’ve been a huge fan ever since 2005, when he showed us all what he was capable of.
He reminded us again in 2007, and even more so in the 2009 playoffs. A-Rod could kill a man and he will always be among my favorite baseball players simply because of everything he did that October. If Alex doesn’t become unstoppable over a 15 game stretch in 2009 the Yankees don’t win the World Series that year (heck, they might not even get past Minnesota) and New York sports fans live in a different world.
Alex’s struggles in 2010 completely blind sided me. On the old Yankeeist site I speculated that once the pressure of winning a title was removed A-Rod and Mark Teixeira were safe bets to combine for 80 home runs. Everyone knows how that worked out. While that level of naivete is what keeps me a fan who is passionate about his team, given everything Rodriguez has accomplished in a Yankee uniform no one would have suspected that far more important than the number of homers Alex hits in 2012 is the number of games the Yankees keep him on the field.
2011 was not as bad a season for Alex as many believe. Largely based on his defense, which passed both the eye and the metric tests last year, Al finished with an impressive 4.2 fWAR on the season. While he was down offensively, his final wOBA of .361 translated to a wRC+ of 125. That’s solid, even if it not what the Yankees pay A-Rod to produce.
Digging deeper, Alex may very well have been on his way to a strong come back season before he sustained his injuries. He was batting .295 with an .852 OPS on July 7th, the last game he played before having knee surgery. On June 28th, just before Alex began slumping prior to having surgery, his line was .304/.382/.515 and it looked like the old A-Rod was on his way back.
This is strong evidence that Alex can contribute consistently when he’s healthy. Unfortunately it has become a herculean task to keep Rodriguez healthy. Recently I was speaking with a friend of mine about A-Rod when he mentioned that Alex seemed to be in irreversible decline. I countered that his on-field performance was fine when he was healthy, to which my friend pointed out that his chronic injuries are a symptom of his decline.
The key variable is therefore Rodriguez’s health, not his productivity, at least not through 2011. If the Yankees can keep Alex healthy for a full season he’ll put up respectable numbers, excellent numbers for a player his age, even if he doesn’t earn his notoriously out-sized pay check. At this point keeping Alex healthy has to mean keeping him on the field for about 130 games. Anything more than that is gravy.
If he can stay on the field for that many games the numbers indicate that he will still be able to produce at a respectable clip. While there really hasn’t been another player like Alex in the history of baseball (no infielder has hit as many home runs), Baseball Reference still feels that Alex compares most similarly to Hank Aaron. Obviously that’s a generous comparison on any level, but what I love about it is that Aaron had five productive seasons after turning 35. My hope as a fan is that Alex will have three more productive seasons, starting in 2012.
LIKE TYA ON FACEBOOK
- TYA To Merge With It’s About The Money, Stupid
- What about Kevin Youkilis?
- Teix Now Front And Center On The “Needs To Produce” Radar
- Cashman: Heathcott A Dark Horse Candidate
- A Dog Chasing Cars
- Outfield Trade Targets
- The Problem With Brett Gardner
- A Look At Relief Prospect Branden Pinder
- The Yankees Should Be Realistic, Put Team on Short Leash in 2013
- Briefly discussing the internal options to replace Curtis Granderson
- essentialtexting.com on Open Thread | Game 3 | Detroit Tigers vs. New York Yankees | Sunday, April 3, 2011
- www25.tok2.com on Sabermetrics Doesn’t Have A Monopoly on Not-Stupid: Mike Trout is the AL MVP
- グッチ 財布 on Sunday Links-Joba’s Timetable, Comparing eras, Pineda
- raspberry ketone diet 1200 on Sabermetrics Doesn’t Have A Monopoly on Not-Stupid: Mike Trout is the AL MVP
- Free riot codes on Off-Topic
- Fran on The Great Subway Race
- sleeping bag hand Orientation on What about Austin Romine?
- camping stove heat diffuser on What about Austin Romine?
- 手機殼 on The Yankees’ Standing In The AL East Right Now
- 手機外殼 on The Yankees’ Standing In The AL East Right Now
TagsA.J. Burnett Alex Rodriguez Andy Pettitte Austin Romine Baltimore Orioles Bartolo Colon Boston Red Sox Brett Gardner Brian Cashman Bullpen CC Sabathia Chien-Ming Wang Cliff Lee Curtis Granderson David Robertson Dellin Betances Derek Jeter Francisco Cervelli Freddy Garcia Game Recap Hiroki Kuroda Ivan Nova Javier Vazquez Jesus Montero Joba Chamberlain Joe Girardi Johnny Damon Jorge Posada Manny Banuelos Mariano Rivera Mark Teixeira Melky Cabrera Michael Pineda New York New York Yankees Nick Johnson Nick Swisher Phil Hughes Prospects Rafael Soriano Red Sox Robinson Cano Russell Martin Tampa Bay Rays Yankees