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Do the Yankees Have Anything to Complain About with A-Rod?

Can the Yankees really expect more from A-Rod?

There’s no question about it, Alex Rodriguez is one of the best players in Major League Baseball.  He hits for a solid average, has tons of power, can steal bases, and while he can sometimes be a defensive liability, A-Rod has a strong arm at third base.  “The third baseman”, as Yankees’ owner George Steinbrenner calls him when he’s disappointed with A-Rod, has seen a slip in his numbers this season, but can the Yankees really complain about what he’s giving them?  Here’s my overview of the situation. 

This season, Alex Rodriguez is batting .284 with 34HRs and 116RBI.  He has also stolen 14 bases.  A-Rod’s OBP is a terrific .384 and his SLG is an amazing .514.  Still, his teammate, and fellow slugger Jason Giambi isn’t satisfied, and all indications are that the Boss isn’t either.  The question is, why?

 

What exactly do the Yankees want A-Rod to do better?

There are several factors contributing to the Yankees’ frustration with A-Rod.  The Bronx is one of baseball’s biggest markets, and Alex Rodriguez is one of baseball’s biggest players, so naturally, the Yankees Stadium fans expect great things of him.  After seeing his potential in 2005, when Rodriguez hit .321 with 48HR and 130RBI, Yankees’ fans thought things could only get better.  His power slide (just 34HR this season) hasn’t been a welcome change, and A-Rod’s glove at third-base is looking less and less like his gold glove at shortstop.  The Boss is none too happy with that!

But what George Steinbrenner, Jason Giambi, and the world of Yankees’ fans don’t realize is that Alex Rodriguez is actually improving in some key spots of the game.  He has far fewer hits, fewer total bases, a lower OBP and SLG, and less power this season, but A-Rod is finally coming through when it counts, sometimes.  A-Rod has upped his batting average with Runners-In-Scoring-Position from .290 to .297, and his “Clutch Rating” is up significantly to 3.0, from last year’s -8.8.  Rodriguez’s ground-ball percentage has dropped from 45% to 42.8%, which means he’s hitting the ball “harder” this season.  That means that for each offensive category in which A-Rod is slipping, he’s making up for it by improving in another aspect of baseball. 

Which brings us back to the question of why the Yankees are complaining about A-Rod.  One potential reason that stands out is A-Rod’s massive salary of nearly 26 million every year (of which 9 million is being paid by the Rangers due to their stupidity several years ago).  For that money, Steinbrenner can certainly expect infinite production from his “third-baseman”, but the Yankees need to accept that he’s not Big Papi in the clutch; he’s A-Rod, a spectacular player in his own ways. 

Wake up A-Rod!  Here’s your chance to get the Boss to “shut-up!”

In a couple of weeks, Alex Rodriguez will get a tremendous chance to silence his critics and put the Yankees’ fans doubts about him away for good.  If A-Rod can produce for the Bronx Bombers in the playoffs, his alleged “ineffectiveness” in crucial situations won’t seem so bad.  If he can stay error-free in the postseason, Steinbrenner and the Yankees will be more confident in his defense, and stop considering a move to DH for him in 2007. 

However, if A-Rod slumps in the playoffs, his days as a Yankee may be numbered, since the Yankees will have plenty of suitors jumping at any hint that Brian Cashman and the Boss are willing to part ways with Rodriguez.  Angels’ fans are already excited about the rumors that have A-Rod coming to Disneyland in an offseason trade, and with good reason. 

He’s one of the top-5 players wearing pinstripes right now, and the Yankees need to see the value and greatness their third-baseman brings to the team.  If the Yankees can’t accept A-Rod for the player that he is, perhaps trading him is the best option.

_______________________________________________________________________

Trivia Time!

Yesterday’s question had two parts…

Q1: Which team traded Dontrelle Willis to the Marlins on March 27, 2002?

and if you’re looking for an extra challenge…

Q2: Which team are the other 2 current major leaguers involved in that deal currently playing for?

Here are the answers…

A1: Chicago Cubs

A2: The other two current MLB players are Julian Tavarez and Matt Clement.  Both of them are currently with the Boston Red Sox. 

Here is today’s question…

Derek Jeter’s reign at shortstop for the Yankees had them doubting trying to trade for A-Rod, but when this player went down with a knee injury in 2004, the Yankees had the motive to pull the trigger?  Who was the injured player who paved the way for the trade that brought A-Rod to the Bronx?

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