Tag Archives: Alex Rodriguez

YANKESS TO RELEASE A-ROD

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According to a ESPN Report, Hal Steinbrenner, the principal owner of the New York Yankees, met privately with Alex Rodriguez before last nights loss to the Giants to discuss his possible release.

Team sources called the meeting “positive”. If released, the Yankees would be responsible for the remaining $28 million due to Rodriguez whose contract expires at the end of the 2017 season. 

The move (if made) would allow Rodriguez to sign with another team in an attempt to reach the vaunted goal of 700 home runs (he needs four more) and perhaps a run at Babe Ruth’s 714 if he plays next year.

The Yankees and A-Rod have played the string out through good times – his contribution to a World Championship in 2009 – and bad times with countless lawsuits and back page media fodder stemming from the steroid accusations. 

His release would wipe the slate clean for the Yankees and signal to their fans that they are (finally) ready to move forward in developing a new and younger face to the team.

Yankees Spring Baseball

. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

And if they are really serious, Texieria, Sabathia, McCann, and Beltran should follow a similar path or be traded to make way for farm talent like Aaron Judge (above), Gary Sanchez (below), and Greg Bird who will return from an injury next season.image

Remember, we are talking about a team which at last count is worth $3.4 billion. But first, we’ll have to wait and see if they pull the plug on Rodriguez……..

 

All ABOARD THE “SCRANTON – NEW YORK EXPRESS “

No doubt the Yankees hitting has been dismal to start the season. And their ability to hit with men in scoring position has been worse than that – abominable in fact. That’s scary enough, but their starting pitchers with the exception of Mashiro Tanaka have been missing in action, and there doesn’t appear to be a light at the end of this dark tunnel.

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off season, Brian Cashman (left) and Joe Girardi believed they had a workable plan, albeit with a bit of luck in avoiding injuries. It was a simple plan that only asked for five starters to give the team five plus innings each start. Behind that would be the tandem of Chapman, Betances, and Miller ready to meet the challenges of any hitting lineup in the league and beyond. Chapman, of course, has been serving a suspension and hasn’t pitched yet this season – but that hasn’t really been a factor in the woes of the Yankees.

Yes, they are hanging in there in a division that reeks of mediocrity. And theimage hot start by the Orioles who have their own pitching problems might be tenuous at best as the season moves along. But still, no team can afford to wait around for a collapse by another team – you have to go out there and get it yourself. And right now, the Yankees are stumbling around while shooting themselves in the foot, in search of answers that don’t exist – at least given the present composition of the team. 

imageTo understand that even better, tune in to any Yankee home game telecast and take a look at all those empty prime seats in the lower level. Because more than anything, that tells you the depth of their problems this year…….

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“AND NOW THE END IS NEAR ” – A-ROD’S CURTAIN CALL

In the end, he’ll most certainly say “I did it my way ” and you can watch Sinatra sing it here because the song is as haunting as it is true………. And nothing comes closer to the real story of A-Rod…….

Very few ballplayers get the chance to go out “their way “. David Ortiz is trying to imagedo what Derek Jeter did two years ago rounding the ballparks one last time. Others like Michael Cuddyer seemingly wake up one morning and say, “That’s it, I don’t have it anymore ” and they disappear from the baseball landscape in the blink of an eye.

Still others imagehang on simply because they can’t let go even though they are but a shell of what they once were. Willie Mays comes to mind getting those last few hapless at bats with the (then) hapless New York Mets.

And for others, it’s the trap of that lucrative long term deal you signed when you were young and seemingly invincible. Although now, you have aged and your skills have proportionately diminished – and because of the money you are owed – it’s like you’re being hung out there to dry and you look for a lifeline that isn’t quite reachable……..

This now is the story of Alex Rodriguez…..

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“MATT THE BRAT” AGAIN!

Along with me, you may be getting a bit annoyed with the episodic relapses  stemming from Matt Harvey’simage diva personality and his ensuing behavior. 

In his latest rant, he is refusing to speak with the media since last Wednesday because he didn’t like how  he was portrayed in local newspapers following a health scare he had related to a issue with his bladder.

Never mind that anyone living in the New York City area and with any intelligence at all knows that there are clear ways to distinguish  the New York Post and the Daily News from the New York Times, and that both papers use attention getting headlines to attract readers, and that some (actually many) of their headlines fall way short of being imageflattering to the subject of their story.

And never mind that Harvey brought this illness on himself by continuing to regularly “hold it in” instead of relieving the pressure on his bladder. But then again, this is what we expect little boys to do.

Harvey is not a kid. He’s 28 years old and it would be hard to imageimagine that the Mets front office as well as his teammates aren’t getting weary of making excuses for his propensity to whine every time adversity arises in his life.

Matt Harvey wants to be Joe Namath? No problem. Just know that there are consequences for going in that direction ……. because in this town you ain’t seen nothin’ yet……..

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WHAT TO DO ABOUT A-ROD (AGAIN!)

Coming intoimage the 2016 season, Alex Rodriguez sits imageat 687 career home runs. That puts him a mere 27 home runs shy of Babe Ruth while Hank Aaron lies well beyond with 755 (-68) and then there’s the second man in baseball we love to hate – Barry Bonds at 762 (-75) for A-Rod to strive for.

But this imageis not really about those numbers. Whether A-Rod finishes at 1,2,3, or 4 doesn’t really matter. He’s had a prodigious imagecareer………somewhat tainted of course………but still the numbers speak for themselves.

Instead, the real issue revolves around $$$$$$$. A considerable amount of money. His contract extends through next year and is incentive laden with “bonuses” when he reaches imagecertain plateaus – some of which will be attainable this year. 

Money! What’s it worth to Alex – and coupled with that an even more interesting question……what’s it all worth to the Yankees……….as well as Major League Baseball……..

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YANKEES – SIT TIGHT AND WAIT IT OUT

If there is one thing the 2015 season demonstrated, it’s that younger (read athletically) constructed teams were the ones who played well into October. In essence, speed kills. Whether you’re talkingimages-1 about a fast ball consistently in the 95-97 mph range (Mets starters) or quick thinking and athleticism on the base paths, or swift and reliable ball tracking in the outfield (Royals on both counts)  – all winning teams (add the Cubs, Astros, and Pirates too) have speed as a common thread between them. Continue reading

GIRARDI’S EPITAPH MISSES THE MARK

New York Yankees manager Joe Girard’s press conference yesterday included a look forward to 2016 as well as a glance backward at ” what happened”. Most telling were his largely defensive comments explaining how he tried to give his aging lineup enough rest so they could limp to the finish line. Left unsaid, probably because he’s a true professional, is the question he must have been asking himself all season……..”Why do I even have to deal with this?”

The New York Yankees are old. Even Brett Gardner (left) who is considered “young” by team standards will be 33 next August. Along with Jacob Ellsbury, (below) he appeared to lose his legs down the stretch and both weighed heavily in the Yankee’s decline and inability to catch the Blue Jays. More telling, Ellsbury was sat by Girardi against Houston in favor of Chris Young. He may regret that decision now but it is indicative of the decisions Girardi had to cope with all year.

Even more baffling was Girardi’s insistence that the Yankees are good to go for next year. Again, he is not the type to put any of his players in harm’s way. But he could have deferred the question to Brian Cashman who will be weighing in soon and it is likely that he will have a entirely different take on next year’s roster. More importantly, ownership is likely to take notice of the continuing decline of TV ratings on YES. Even fans like myself found my way to SNY and the youthful and energetic Mets more often than not.  We’ve seen this cast before and watching Alex Rodriguez go 1-4 with three strikeouts and a home run is getting downright boring. And I sense that a good portion of the fan base agrees.

Some tough decisions need to be made quickly. CC Sabathia is one of them. As difficult as it would be (in light of his personal problems now), he needs to be cut loose and his salary eaten. Same with Teixeria who is a injury waiting to happen all year, every year. The kids the Yankees have need to be in the forefront of the lineup and in full view of the fans and media. Greg Bird, Luis Severino, Michael (above) Pineda (if he can stay healthy and grow up – pine tar?) and Rob Refsnyder are budding stars. Don’t let them wait for a spot to clear in the lineup when a aging “regular” goes down with injury. And for God sakes, do not sign David Price or any other veteran over the age of 26. 

In truth, the Yankees are no longer fun to watch. That needs to change………and while I’m thinking about it…….maybe a change at the helm needs to be made too.images-8 $$$ is always the big factor though and a year of Girardi’s contract would need to be eaten. We know what George would have done regardless of the cost. His son Hal moves to center stage now………it’s been six long years since the Yankees posted a Championship in 2009. The Boss would never have stood for that…..no way….no how.

 

TOP TEN CLUBHOUSE LEADERS

We often hear managers, coaches, and scouts refer to what they call “the intangibles” when they refer to players. And this is something (finally) that StatCast can’t measure. It’s that player who adds something to a team beyond the numbers. He’s the one that stands out among the rest. He’s the one who keeps a clubhouse (what they call) ” loose”. He’s the one who leads by example – the first in the clubhouse for a night game – the last one to leave after graciously answering beat reporters questions. 

Following then are my Top Ten clubhouse leaders in the game today. They are not necessarily ranked in order. You can rearrange them or submit a new list as a comment…..

1) ANDREW MCCUTCHEN (Pittsburgh)

Commonly known as “Clutch”, images-7he continues to propel his team into the 2015 Playoffs. With his long locks and ever present smile and charisma, he epitomizes the the swagger of the Pirates whom he often leads in dugout “dances” before games.

2) TORRI HUNTER (Minnesota)

In the twilight images-8of his career now, he returns to his former team. While not putting up the numbers he used to, he provides a presence that cannot be measured as the Twins seek to attain a wild card berth in a very crowded and competitive field.

3) Alex Rodriguez (New York)

Surprisedimages-10 to see his name here……you shouldn’t be. His teammates constantly attest to his value both on and off the field. Yeah maybe he should have done things differently over the years….and down the road -he will admit to that……….but he loves the game of baseball and his teammates know that and appreciate that.

4) DAVID WRIGHT (New York)

Out of sight for a long time due to a career threatening back injury that kept him out and off the field  for several months……. On the night he returns, he hits a home run in his first at bat and his team follows with seven more to set a franchise record for home runs in a game……..case closed.

5) Mike Trout (L.A. Angels)

His talent on the field is immeasurable. He’s the quiescent five tool playerimages-11. Superlatives do not justify his presence. When fans come to see the Angels play, they come to see the face of the team………and he is unquestionably that man. Beyond that, he “gets it” and is accommodating to fans and media with little or no hoopla.

6) YADIER MOLINA (St. Louis Cardinals)

A catcher (an often unsung position), he continues to perform at a high level images-19(.300 batting average again this year). And while he may be just a cog in the Cardinals perennial push to the playoffs and beyond, he remains the backbone of the team as well as a failsafe zone for the relatively young pitching staff.

7)  HUNTER SPENCE (San Francisco Giants)

The guy often reminds me of Goofy with his height and unwieldy hair style.images-18……but he has what it takes when the Giants need that two out hit or maybe an argument to spark the team after a close called third strike at the plate. “Characters” are good for a team and the Giants are fortunate to have him.

8) Jimmy Rollins ( Los Angeles Dodgers)

Once in a while, the baseball gods allow the placement of a player to where images-15he is destined to shine. The Phillies were cleaning house and “unlunloaded” Rollins to the Dodgers where he is likely to finish out his career. It’s simple……..he fits in and adds that ever invaluable piece of veteran leadership down the stretch.

9) JUAN URIBE (New York Mets)

A journeyman player for most of his career, he arrived a month or so ago images-12when the Mets were struggling and trying to find themselves, Uribe immediately brought life into a dying clubhouse and he also contributed on the field as well with several key hits as depicted in the photo here.

10) ADAM JONES (Baltimore Orioles)

A pillar of consistency, Jones adds reliable defense in center field to a team images-16without stars. Not the rah rah go team go type, he leads with his presence and work ethic. Just wind him up and send him out there to do his job……..He’s the one player in the lineup you don’t want to face in a clutch situation.

  

 

The Yankees Should Pass And Stay Pat – No Moves Required

About this time during every baseball season the airwaves become filled with the anticipation of a brand new season – the one that occurs after the upcoming All Star Game break. Teams begin dreaming of a new lineup replete with the one big bat or starting pitcher that is going to make all the difference in the world – and erase the failures of the first half and jettison the team to see the playoffs and beyond.

All fine and dandy except for one thing………it rarely happens that way. Eighty-five percent of the time the teams sitting in first place now are the same teams that are there in October. There are exceptions of course and one needs only to go back to last year’s horrific collapse of the Milwaukee Brewers………..but generally whatever moves are made in the next couple of weeks are built on dreams and the hope of catching lightning in a bottle.

The New York Yankees images-1are a good solid team and they currently occupy first place in the American League East. They have a good manager in Joe Giraard (right) who handles a bullpen as well as anybody at the same time he neutralizes and protects his players ( A-Rod is just one example).

Their starting pitching Michael-Pineda-1may be fragile with Tanaka, Pineda (right), and Nova coming off arm surgeries. But whose pitching isn’t fragile these days? The pitching is fine. Leave it alone. They’ve gotten the team to where it is…..why mess with it and sell off your farm system for………let’s say 31 year old Cole Hamels who may or may not be able to adjust to American League lineups.

Ditto for the bats. Mark Teixeria imageshas been a one man wrecking crew leading the league in RBI. Behind and in front of him lie Alex Rodriguez and rebounding Brian McCann who are both having outstanding and clutch driven years. Could they add a bat for Stephen Drew? Sure they could but understand Drew’s presence is felt in the clubhouse and in the field every day…….again….Leave it alone.

The point is that the team in the Bronx is good enough. If they only play .500 baseball for the remainder of the season, they’ll finish with 87 wins………..which again should be “good enough” in the AL East. Forget the great teams nonsense (the Yankees have been there too)………..just be good enough to get into the crap-shoot playoffs.

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 And it’s not like we’re talking about their counterparts in Flushing where the struggling Mets can’t get by with what they have and indeed are (or should be) in “panic mode”. There’s a old worn out saying that happens to be true…..”If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

Let’s Lighten Up On The Steroids Thing

Too often, we tend to view things outside the all important context of historical perspective. We forget why Richard Nixon ordered the break in of the Democratic Headquarters  (he was a tortured man who believed everyone – especially the press – was out to get him. We also forget that J Edgar Hoover was wire tapping Martin Luther King during the same period. This is not to excuse what either man did – but it is to suggest that there is a “context” that must be recognized and explored when forming opinions about individuals and events.

In the same vein, remember that the emergence of steroids images-4occurred immediately after the 1994 season strike. The strike hit baseball hard. There was no World Series that year. Fans turned away from the game. A few never came back.

Owners needed as George Steinbrenner liked to say “asses in the seats”. And what better way to do that than with a high dose of power and home run bombs every night. And let’s spread the power around the league too…….no sense having just one player smash 60 home runs……1372350453_big-head-barry-bonds-clearLet’s have three (Bonds, McGuire, and Sosa).

They knew. They not only knew and looked the other way………they also fattened their wallets…….big time.

The players were perplexed. In the same way that Nixon knew others were engaging in questionable tactics to gain an advantage……hey why not me too? The playing field needs to be leveled and if he’s taking steroids then I’d better do the same.

And so it goes……..as Buffalo Springfield suggested…..”Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong”.

But wait a minute. Baseball is a game more reliant on stats than any other sport. Even your average baseball fan knows “the numbers that matter”. And therein lies the rub…….what to do about all these records? It’s not the steroids that bother many fans…….it’s more about “keeping score”.  How do you judge (for example) the accomplishments of a Barry Bonds when you cannot quantify the number of home runs he hit BECAUSE of steroids. It drives  ’em nuts.

But I look at it differently. No one has ever proved or even suggested that steroids augment the level of hand to eye coordination required to make contact with a 97mph fast ball. So whether or not use of performance enhancing drugs causes a hit ball to travel further is really a moot point. It doesn’t matter if you can’t hit the pitch to begin with.

In the same way, do steroids have anything to do with the ballet that we see at second base every time a double play is turned?

Let’s lighten up a bit. Let’s enjoy the game and put aside the numbers game………….there’s too much to marvel at……..and I for one simply want to watch every at bat of a player like Mike Stanton……….and yes….Alex Rodriguez too!