Posts Tagged ‘Alex Rodriguez’

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2009 Goal: Involve Nick Swisher in Every Post

April 14, 2009

I hope everyone got a chance to watch Nick Swisher pitching last night. It was so amusing that it actually made the loss palatable. Well, not for Jorge Posada:

When Kim Jones, the YES network reporter, mentioned to Jorge Posada that the game “apparently ended with some laughs,” Posada cut off the question. He had caught the first seven innings and did not seem to see the humor in Swisher’s stunt.

“Nobody was laughing,” Posada said. “I think today was embarrassing. It’s just one of those days that everything went for them and nothing went for us. We didn’t pitch; we didn’t do the things we were supposed to do. Nobody was laughing.”

Even the ever stoic Derek Jeter was able joke about Swisher, who was the only Yankee to have a scoreless appearance yesterday. Posada’s anger is understandable, the loss was embarrassing and if this were to happen again in the near future it would be pretty gruesome for the Yankees. But really, how can you be so worked up that for a half an inning you can’t enjoy yourself while your first baseman throws side arm changeups on the mound? Are there really any Yankee followers who didn’t take a bit of enjoyment out of that overall terrible game? Oh wait, I found some! Better yet, they all work in the Yankees’ booth.

John Flaherty: “It’s not a good feeling for the hitter, it’s not a good feeling for Nick Swisher, it’s not a good feeling for Molina behind the plate.”

Swish was laughing it up on the mound, and Molina looked like he was giggling like crazy behind the plate. He even pumped his fist after Swisher got a strikeout.

Michael Kay: “He just took the ball and he tossed it into the dugout. I don’t think that’s pretty cool, you’re in the middle of a game right here, and it’s also embarrassing to Kapler.”

Kapler probably should feel silly, for one. Second, his team is up by ten, I think he’ll sleep okay. Smiling is not the Yankee way! If he did a Joba scream and fist pump after the strikeout I might get the problem, but that wasn’t the case. None of this was as bad as Joe Buck freaking out over Randy Moss fake-mooning the Packer fans who actually mooned him, but still.

By the way, A-rod has moved his rehab to Florida at the Yankees spring training complex, and seems wel on his way to getting back. It isn;t even halfway through April, so his May 15th projection seems pretty accurate, and he’ll even have a shot of getting back a week or so before then. The way Cody Ransom is not only struggling at the plate, but having trouble in the field, he can not return wuick enough.

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A.L. East Third Basemen 2009

March 25, 2009

Opening day approacheth! And all the while, the timer for my previews ticks down. You have no idea of the kind of pressure I am under over here. So, quick everyone! To the preview-mobile.

Third base in the A.L. East: where hip labrums go to die. Mike Lowell and Alex Rodriguez have each suffered a torn hip labrums in the past 8 months, both in their right hip. The hip is a huge joint, and unlike the shoulder labrum supports the weight of the entire body on it. The sensitvity of these types of injuries is compounded by the fact that both men are right handed hitters, and their push off legs have been compromised.

Lowell appears to be back in business, and A-rod (at least, according to his doctor) should show no ill effects and minimal risk of re-injury once he is ready to go. That will, hopefully, be in early-to-mid May. A-rod’s line from PECOTA is projected at .287/.379/.541, in 624 at bats. This projection was out well before it was known Alex would need an operation. This line, even coming off of injury, does not seem out of reach for A-rod; it is a very slight drop from 2008 (and a massive drop from his incredible 2007). What needs to be adjusted is the time he will miss. Estimating an early May return, lets say he misses 35 games, approximately 140 plate appearances, or about 22% of his projected 624 PA’s. Combining 78% of A-rod’s time with 22% of a replacement level bat (let’s use Jose Castillo, a third baseman with a VORP right near zero last season). Cody Ransom will probably fill the role, and I would expect a mediocre-to-average bat from him (and below average defense) but for the purpose of providing a modest estimate, Lopez’ line of .281/.314/.313 will do. That gives the Yankees an assumed averaged line of .286/.364/.491. and a .300 EqA Overall, the Yankees still sport a well above average third base year, but this is only if A-rod returns on time and is healthy and productive right away.

Lowell checks in with a projected .264/.327/.446 and .267 EqA. He has limited range but he’s at the right position for that, because he still has a superb glove. If I weren’t feeling so spry I would copy and paste those last two sentences and place Scott Rolen‘s name right where Lowell’s is. They’re within a year of age, they’re an injury liability, they’re good defenders and they’re projected for nearly the same OPS and EqA. Rolen’s PECOTA line in this case is .261/.336/.430 with an EqA of .268. Neither player is spectacular, but both are very solid veterans, if still unreliable health-wise.

In the same veign of aging third baseman is Baltimore’s Melvin Mora. Mora is older than either Lowell or Rolen, but he has also averaged 600 at bats over the last three seasons. He had an incredibly torrid second half, which was tempered by his ice cold first half, but finishing the year with 23 homers and an .825 OPS certainly isn’t bad for a 36 year old father of quintuplets. A more even keeled season should be expected, and the PECOTA line of .269/.332/.443 and .268 EqA seems accurate.

Rounding out the division is the player who could, if A-rod proves to be something other than his usual self, be the best third baseman in the division. Evan Longoria has a very good glove, arm, and bat, all at 23 years old. Longoria is only going to improve; his on-base skills are even better than the .343 OB% he put up last year. PECOTA forecasts a season similar to last years, with a slight drop in slugging (which makes sense; his slugging spiked last year from the numbers he had been putting up in the minors). His line of .270/.346/.507 and .289 EqA are all-star worthy, particularly if he keeps up his stellar defensive play. And whether it actually counts for anything or not, Longoria is one of the most confident players in baseball. It doesn’t take something as complex as PECOTA to see that great things are emerging for Longoria.

Next time around: Shortstops!

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A-Rod has Surgery; Out 6-9 Weeks

March 9, 2009

As the title implies, A-Rod had his surgery today. He must have read my complaints from the other day, as the original plan was to rehab the injury.

This is a good compromise for the situation; Alex will only miss the month of April, and when he returns should be full strength. Rehab could not have guaranteed such a return, and the best case scenario would have him missing several weeks anyway. The arthroscopic procedure is only a temporary fix, but it is one that will get him through the season, at which point he can have the more invasive and permanent procedure done. This should also leave him ready to go next season.

For such a major injury, seemingly out of nowhere, it seems like it was handled well (though if his hip has been hurting for quite some time, as was said by the Yankees, then he probably should have had it checked out sooner). A-Rod could be back for Boston’s first series in the New Yankee Stadium the first week of April, and Yankee fans can get back to booing our best player once again.

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Hip to be Square: A-Rod Has Torn Hip Labrum

March 5, 2009

If anyone is questioning the groan inducing title puns, I am trying to get a job for the New York Post.

Alex Rodriguez is having a hell of a Spring. Yesterday it was noted that he had a sore hip, this morning his brother let it be known that Alex had a cyst on his hip that would require surgery, knocking him out for up to 10 weeks. Now, his agent, Scott Boras, and Brian Cashman both acknowledged that in addition to the cyst A-rod has a torn larbum in his hip. This ESPN article has been updating throughout the day, if anyone wants to follow it along.

Now, while details have been minimalized for the time being, a torn hip labrum is the same injury that Chase Utley played through last season and had operated on in November. He is set to make his Spring debut this week, and has been running already. That’s a recovery time of approximately 3 and a half months. For the time being, the cyst will be drained and the Yankees have said Alex is going to rehab in an effort to get back on the field faster, and opt for surgery later on if it is necessary.

This is probably the worst course of action for a few reasons. One, he is likely to miss several months regardless. Why jeapordize his health for the entire season to get him back sooner when he is already missing a chunk of time? Opting for immediate surgery could get him back by June fully healthy and recovered, rather than getting him back in mid-May with the risk of re-injuring or not even healing to begin with, in which case he could miss the whole year.

I’m sure the Yankees are already exploring a host of possibilities, including perhaps a trade for a third baseman. A few who are likely to be available are Adrian Beltre, Brandon Inge, and Hank Blalock. Beltre and Blalock are free agents after 2009, while Inge is signed for one more year after this. Other options could be shortstops Miguel Tejada or Bobby Crosby, both of whom could move to third and are in the last year of their contracts.

Out of all of the potential trade options, Crosby would probably make the most sense; he’s not exhorbitantly overpaid and would come for little more than taking on his contract. The best bet for the Yankees is probably to avoid any trade for the time being, unless it becomes apparent that Rodriguez is going to miss the full season. The Yankees sport depth in the other three corner positions, with Nick Swisher, Xavier Nady, Mark Teixera, Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui. Whoever does not end up in center out of Melky Cabrera and Brett Gardner are also capable corner outfielders (with the glove, certainly not with the bat).

Matsui will likely DH most of the time (if he is healthy), Damon, Cabrera, and Gardner are outfielders only (though Damon has played a bit of first for the Yankees). Teixera has played all four corners at various points in his career, including 15 less than stellar games at third in the majors and a full season of mediocre third in the minors.

The ideal solution for the Yankees has to be to let Nady and Swisher share time at third for the Spring. The Yankees have apparently been looking to move one of them, exploring trades with the Braves amongst others, but if either can play a competent third base it may be a blessing that they held onto them both. Most seem to be penciling Cody Ransom into the starting role as the main utility man and de facto starting third baseman, but looking elsewhere within the 25 man roster provides two vastly superior bats who have bodies and athleticism to handle third base.

I don’t expect to see any gold glove caliber play by either of them, but if one shows to be a fair fielder then the Yankees are much better off working from within, not giving up talent, and just hoping A-Rod can come back healthy.

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