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Posted By Dr. Stan, the Stats Man

A-Rod’s statistics paint a picture of one of the greatest baseball players of all-time. The table below list some of his eye-popping career batting statistics.

A-Rod Stats
 

What about his honors? He was a 3-time MVP. He was one of only five Yankee greats--- Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle, Berra and Maris --- to win multiple MVP Awards. He was a 2-time Gold Glove SS, a 10-time Silver Slugger, a batting champion in 1996 and a 14-time All-Star. Clearly, I could go on with his yearly accomplishments but no more proof is needed to declare his greatness. He is second only to the Babe in most home runs hit in one decade (Babe 467 [1920-1929], A-Rod 435 [2000-2009]) and is the only player to hit at least 150 home runs for three different teams (NY, Sea, Tex).

My original draft of this blog written on Thursday painted an ugly picture of Yankees manager Joe Girardi, a manager who I really respect. Here are some of the pieces I wrote in that first draft. “Thursday night in Boston, Yankees DH Alex Rodriguez played his final road game of his career. For his final rode game, A-Rod was slotted in the 4th position in the batting order serving as the DH. A-Rod made it clear he wanted to start all three games against the Red Sox and start at third base in his final game at Yankee Stadium. Unfortunately, his manager refused both his requests. Why did Joe Girardi refuse his requests? For some absurd reason A-Rod sat out the first two games against the Red Sox. Did Girardi sit A-Rod for the first two games because he felt these were must win games and he had better player alternatives for winning these games? I don’t think so! Remember, the Yankees already waved the white flag several days ago by getting rid of two of the top closers in baseball and their best hitter. Considering A-Rod has been a model citizen this year--- never complaining about his lack of playi­­ng time, leading the cheers from the dugout and working with younger players such as Castro and Gregorius---, A-Rod earned the right to start the final four games of his Yankee career. Would the Yankees have turned down the same request if it was made by Jeter?  

Friday has come and has gone. A-Rod played his last game for the Yankees. The game was scheduled to start at 8 PM instead of the usual 7 PM. The reason for this was the Yankees planned a small celebration for A-Rod. The night started with a storm that one might have reasoned was delivered by the baseball gods to represent A-Rod’s career. Mariano walked his two daughters out of the dugout and they were embraced by their father. The sellout crowd continually cheered and chanted A-Rod’s name. He started the game but not at third base. In his first at bat he delivered a scorching line drive to right that split the outfielders and drove in the Yankees first run. You could see the joy in has face as he stood on second base. This was his only hit in four at bats. But there was a ninth inning surprise. With the Yankees leading 6 to 3 and Betances pitching, out trotted A-Rod with his glove on his left hand. Yes, he would play third base for one out and then leave the game as the fans cheered. Arriving at the dugout he was hugged by Girardi. Yes, Joe granted his wish to play third base in his final game even though it was just for one out.

So what about A-Rod’s future? Well, the Yankees are obligated to pay him the $27.5 million he is owed along with a nominal amount in his new position as advisor and instructor for the Yankees. From my readings the bilingual A-Rod loves to work with young players and will be valuable working with such Latin players as Gleyber Torres (just acquired in a trade) and Jorge Mateo (promising minor league SS).

More on A-Rod’s future in a follow-up blog.


 
Posted By Dr. Stan, the Stats Man

Should we bestow onto Alex Rodriguez the title “Comeback Player of the Year?” As an optimistic Yankee fan my highest expectation for A-Rod’s contributions to the Yankees for the 2015 season was 15 home runs and 40 RBIs as a part-time DH. As of this writing A-Rod has 14 home runs with 40 RBIs and a BA of .283 in only 68 games. This is an amazing comeback because he was out of baseball for one year, had two hip surgeries, and is 39 years-old. In fact, according to baseball-reference.com, there are only three players who finished a season over 38-years old with a better OPS than A-Rod currently has. They are Babe Ruth in 1934, Ted Williams in 1958 and Barry Bonds in 2004. Still, there is over half a season remaining and the question is will A-Rod break down? Since Joe is using him almost solely as a DH, I believe A-Rod will continue to produce power numbers for the rest of the season.

Before spring training began this year there was a real feud between A-Rod and the Yankee organization. Some people predicted the Yankees would release A-Rod even though they would still have to pay him the $61 million left on his contract. There was also the idea that A-Rod, not needing the money, would retire and not embarrass himself. In spite of harsh words between the Yankees and A-Rod neither one of these two events happened. Now the most dysfunctional marriage in sports is in a holding phase. Still both sides seem destined for an off-season fight over the marketing agreement, pegged to A-Rod’s home run milestones. The Yankee fans and Yankee players have accepted A-Rod back into the Yankee family. So, I ask the question: Why can’t the Yankee organization do the same? In my opinion they are making a horrible mistake. The idea behind the marketing agreement was as A-Rod reached each of these home run milestones, the Yankees would be able to add more money to their coffers by selling many different things. They now argue because of his admitted steroid use the fans would not celebrate his achievements and there would be no marketing value attributed to these milestones. Boy are they wrong. It is known that baseball fans are quick to forgive a player’s sins if that player is successful on the playing field. The fans certainly have celebrated each of A-Rod’s achievements from his 2000 RBIs to his 3000 hits with standing ovations and curtain calls. It is sad that the Yankees have not so far planned any celebration events to honor A-Rod’s achievements. After all in the history of baseball A-Rod, Henry Aaron and Willie Mays are the only three players with 600 home runs and 3000 hits; A-Rod and Henry Aaron are the only two players with 600 home runs, 3000 hits and 2000 RBIs. Of the 29 players in the 3000 hit club, only A-Rod, Boggs and Jeter have their 3000 hit be a home run. But A-Rod went one step further when his 3001 hit was also a home run.

Outside of his on-field accomplishments A-Rod should be applauded for his work with children. In the Miami area where A-Rod grew up he works with the children of the Boys & Girls Club in Miami. “He usually shows up at the club unannounced,” said Miami-Dade’s club’s president. “He just shows up. This is home for him. This is where he spent a lot of time as a child.” Besides holding clinics for the club’s children, he has given the club significant financial support over the years.

Has every baseball fan forgiven A-Rod? Of course, the answer is no. The opposing team’s fan boo him as they always have and some Yankee fans have not forgiven him. Since the beginning of spring training Alex has said and done the right things. Yes, I have forgiven A-Rod and recognize that his baseball achievements make him one of the greatest baseball players in the history of baseball.  

What you think of A-Rod?  Please comment.


 
Posted By Dr. Stan, the Stats Man

On May 1, 2015 Alex Rodriguez sent a laser shot over the Green Monster at Fenway Park, the home of the Yankees arch rival the Red Sox. As everyone knows this was a milestone home run since it was Alex’s 660th which tied him for fourth place with Willie Mays for career home runs. A contract signed in 2007 between Alex and the Yankees which I will call the milestone contract guarantees Alex six million dollars for various milestones. The first one was hitting his 660th home run. This agreement coincided with his 10-year $275 million contract extension following the 2007 World Series.

 

The Yankees claim that they no longer owe Alex the six million dollars and the milestone contract is null and void due to his suspension by Major League Baseball for his involvement with the Biogenesis PED scandal. Alex’s side argues his milestone contract is valid and the numbers are the numbers. Of course, as is the case in most contract disputes, this dispute will eventually wind up in the courts. A trial will benefit the media but would be very negative for both Alex and the Yankees.

 

Since Alex has reported to spring training he has been a model citizen. He has said all the right things and has backed it up with his play in the field. Until his recent slump he has been their best hitter and his game-winning 660th career home run was his sixth this year. Listening to the cheers he receives every time he comes to bat the Yankee fans have forgiven him and realize he is one of the major reasons their team is currently in first place. Watching his interview after the game and seeing him overcome with emotion, I also see him in a different light. I think he really wants to put his past mistakes behind him. His Yankee teammates have also accepted him and want Alex to be successful. They realize for them to reach the playoffs his right-hand power bat is needed. An ugly trial with the Yankees might result in undoing all these positives.

 

As for the Yankees a heated trial can have a negative effect on the Yankee players and consequently effect their run to the playoffs. I also think the Yankees are missing a very positive marketing situation. The American people are very forgiving and when a person humbly admits his mistakes and apologizes more likely than not they will be forgiven. If the Yankee management followed the lead of the Yankee fans and forgive Alex they would be seen as a forgiving parent. They should come out with a statement that they do not condone Alex’s PED use but that is in the past. They should then state they accept his apology and welcome him back into the Yankee family. A small celebration of his milestone should then be scheduled. The end result from a PR point of view would be they would get what they expected from the six million dollars in the milestone contract.

 

I think I have a solution to the problem. Yes, Alex has backed up his apology with his behavior and of course his batting successes. There are some critics who say it is easy to say the words I apologize but other actions are needed to back up the words. Here is my suggestion to Alex. I do not believe Alex needs the six million dollars. So Alex should start a charitable foundation with the six million dollars. The money in the foundation could then be used for many different charities. Think what this would mean for the new Alex’s reputation. Guess what!!! The Yankees would also benefit since they are now living up to the contract and their six million dollars will benefit many needed people. Believe me the billionaire Yankees won’t be hurt by losing the six million.


 
Posted By Dr. Stan, the Stats Man

It has been many years since there is so much anticipation between Mets fans and Yankee fans for the 2015 edition of the Subway Series beginning on Friday, April 24 at Yankee Stadium. The Mets enter the series with (can you believe it) the best record in baseball at 13-3. The Yankees, after a slow start, have won 6 of their last 7 games including 3 out of 4 from the very good Tigers. Currently, the Yankees have a record of 9-7 and are tied for first place in the AL East. Clearly, right now the Mets are the hottest team in baseball and the Yankees might be the second hottest team. This is the first time in the history of the Subway Series both teams enter the competition at least tied for first place. Two of the most talked about players this spring (albeit for different reasons) Matt Harvey and Alex Rodriguez will be in the limelight. This year both teams will host a three-game series which guarantees a winner for each series.

The Mets have been hit with the injury bug. They will enter the series without David Wright, their best positional player, their starting and much improved catcher Travis d’Arnaud, and relievers Jerry Blevins, Vic Black, Josh Edgin, and Bobby Parnell. Let’s not forget the loss of Zack Wheeler, their projected number two starter. In spite of these loses they have been winning with excellent starting and relief pitching. They have been scoring just enough runs to win many close games. Their closer, Jeurys Familia, is a perfect 8 for 8 in saves. If the Mets win 50% of their remaining games they will win 86 games. Since 90 wins usually guarantees a ticket to the playoffs, Mets fans can definitely start thinking about post-season play. Turning to the Yankees, they enter the series much healthier. Starters Ivan Nova and Chris Capuano are expected back in a couple of weeks. Brendon Ryan, their backup shortstop, will also return shortly.

The pitching matchups for the first three-game series include Jacob deGrom vs. Michael Pineda (Friday), Matt Harvey vs. CC Sabathia (Saturday) and Jon Niese vs. Nathan Eovaldi (Sunday). We will see power arms from all these pitchers. Among the 104 qualified starters Eovaldi, Harvey, and deGrom rank in the top ten in average velocity of their fastball.

The eyes of New York fans will be glued to two special players. Of course, I mean A-Rod and Harvey. A-Rod has surprised the fans and baseball experts by looking like his old self. He is hitting the fastball and physically looks great. Matt Harvey has returned from Tommy John surgery and also looks like his old self. I can’t wait to see the matchup between these two players.

I will have a follow-up posting after the series concludes. It is now 20 minutes from the start of game one. Enjoy the three-game series. This is A MUST SEE.


 
Posted By Dr. Stan, the Stats Man

Derek Jeter has manned the shortstop position for two decades. Jeter often referred to as “The Captain” represented Yankee royalty. His heir apparent named Didi Gregorious, acquired by way of trade from Arizona on December 5, was made a knight in his home island of Curacao in 2011. His knighthood was earned after performing well in an international baseball tournament.

When ranking the all-time Yankee greats there is no question after Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, and Mantle Jeter ranks somewhere in the top ten with Yogi Berra, Don Mattingly, Bill Dickey, Whitey Ford, and of course Mariano Rivera.

In replacing a Yankee icon in the pressure filled environment of New York, Didi takes on one of the most intimidating jobs in baseball. Just ask Tino Martinez after he replaced Don Mattingly. It took Tino a few years to gain the acceptance of Yankee fans.

What do we know about Didi as a baseball player? He is 24 years-old. Unlike Jeter, who came to the Yankees in 1996 as a fully ready shortstop and won Rookie of the Year honors in his first full season, Didi is a work in progress. On defense he has all the right tools. As a lefty batter, he hits well against righties but really struggles against lefties. In fact, he is one of the worst hitters in baseball against lefty pitchers. In his rookie season of 2013 in 103 games he batted .252 with 7 home runs, 28 RBI, and an OPS of .707. His difficulties against lefties brought his numbers down to an average of .226 with 6 home runs, 27 RBI and an OPS of .653 in 80 games in 2014. The good news is the Yankees have right-handed hitting Brendan Ryan, an excellent defensive shortstop to platoon with Didi; the bad news is Ryan is also a weak hitter.

Flash! The Yankees just traded starting second baseman Martin Prado to the Miami Marlins for starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi as part of a five-player deal. With the trade, the Yankees appear as if they will let prospects Rob Refsnyder and Jose Pirela fight it out to be the team's second baseman. Scouts believe in both of their bats, but there are questions about their gloves. Of course, the Yankees still have time to trade for a veteran second baseman. I am against this trade. I know the Yankees need starting pitching but losing a very good veteran defensive second baseman leaves Didi with another adjustment problem. The veteran Prado would have been a stabilizing force for Didi. Replacing Prado with a rookie second baseman leaves the Yankees with two question marks up the middle.

With the Marlins in 2014, Eovaldi pitched nearly 200 innings, finishing 6-14 with a 4.37 ERA. He started 33 games, 4th most in majors (good) and allowed 223 hits, most in the majors (bad). He gave up 0.631 home runs per 9 innings, 7th lowest in majors (good). His 97 earned runs was 4th most allowed in majors (bad) and his 14 losses was 4th most losses in majors (bad). Turning 25 in February with a fastball clocked in the upper 90s, his upside is great. Eovaldi will join the recently signed Chris Capuano to complete a shaky starting pitching rotation of Tanaka, Sabathia, Pineda, and Nova. This group enters with questions regarding Tanaka's and Nova's elbows, as well as Sabathia's knee. Coming off TJ surgery, Nova will not be available until late May. The Yankees may need Eovaldi to approach 200 innings again.

The trade also brings veteran first baseman and outfielder Garrett Jones to the Yankees to backup Teixeira. This removes first base as an option for A-Rod. With Hendley slotted to be the regular third baseman, A-Rod will have to share his at bats as a DH with Carlos Beltran. I would not be surprised if A-Rod never appears in another regular season game with the Yankees. I smell a buyout for A-Rod coming soon.

Can you name another major leaguer, in the history of baseball, whose last name begins with Eo?


 


 
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