Friday, October 7, 2011

The End of an A-Rod...

There are two glaring issues the New York Yankees must address going forward-overpaying for talent and a sense of entitlement that success in the post-season is their birthright. Both they and the Red Sox proved that spending more than any other team in the majors does NOT guarantee anything except an immense amount of criticism if they fall short, and a jaded response if they DO win.

Here is the gigantic albatross hanging around the neck of the Yankees-the contracts of their star players. Rodriguez is owed $143 million dollars over the next six years. Jeter is owed $51 million over three years with a (get this) player option for a fourth year at $8 million that goes down to $3 mil if he decides not to re-sign, which works out to potentially $60 mil for 4 years. The Yankees can afford it, but one can only say this for so long. Without the rampant steroid use that was par for the course, the players signing contracts of 6 years or longer are getting paid for increasingly diminishing production. Just because a team can afford to overpay players doesn't mean it makes proper business sense.

Now they have C.C. Sabathia, arguably one of the best pitchers in the game, signed to a 7-year, $161 million dollar contract with an opt-out clause after three, meaning this season he is pretty much a free agent all over again and will be looking for either the same years at more money or the same money with more years added on. So far the Yankees owe Sabathia $92 million over the next four years. At age 31, do the Yankees really want to throw more money at this guy or worse, add more years to his contract just to keep him?

Sabathia's not exactly a slave to off-season conditioning and regardless of how tall he is, all that excess lard will become a hindrance the older he gets. And as we've seen lately, baseball players do not age gracefully. Their performance usually takes a precipitous fall sometime in their early to mid thirties and then the free-fall is quick and irreversible, which is what we are witnessing from Alex Rodriguez.

A-Rod is a player from the infamous Steroids Era in baseball. All the other prime movers have either retired (Bonds, Sosa, McGuire) or have been marginalized out of existence (Manny Ramirez, Roger Clemens). All have had their legacies tarnished seemingly beyond repair, but it is A-Rod who plays on. We will no longer see the A-Rod of old. Gone are the 50-home run, 130-plus RBI seasons. Gone are all those towering home runs. Gone is his bat speed. All he has left is a guaranteed contract that is more a lottery payout than a salary.

So when people make the argument that steroids don't help you hit a baseball, check out the stats from Rodriguez's 2007 season as opposed to what he's done the last couple of years. I'll gladly tell you to go and fuck yourself if you think 'roids hasn't played a tremendous part in A-Rod's career, because now that he's presumably off the juice, he's just another aging athlete with little left in that depleted steroid tank of his. And don't expect him to rebound next year either, unless he sends his cousin back to the DR to get him some more primobolan.

Striking out against the Red Sox in the playoffs back in the days, proof that ain't a damn thing changed-
Here are the pertinent details-putting aside his performance in the 2009 MLB Playoffs, Rodriguez has batted .222 and hit 4 homers in 38 playoff games. That is absolutely pedestrian in the rarefied world of baseball's elite. This year, he had only two hits in 18 plate appearances (both singles) in game 4's 10-1 rout of the Detroit Tigers. But in the crucial game 5, he strikes out with the bases loaded with the score 3-2, which is how the game ended.

There are no more excuses. He has had his time in pinstripes to carve out his legacy as one of the best players to ever stick a needle full of 'roids in his ass. He hit 54 homers in 2007. From then on, it's been 35, 30, 30, and this year 16. Six-fucking-teen. Games played-again, in 2007, 158. This year? A grand total of 99. What about total hits, you ask? In 2007, he had 183 hits. This year it was 103. Come on, man. What the fuck is this fucking guy getting paid for?

The Yankees extended A-Rod's contract when he opted out of his previous deal and gave him 4 more years than any other team would have given him. They were willing to pay him even more money per year than that idiot owner from Texas gave him when he first signed him to the 10-year, 252 million dollar contract that changed the face of modern-day sports forever. The Yankees are counting on A-Rod to break the home run record while helping to put more World Series banners up during the length of his current deal. That plan isn't looking too good right now.

Fans will point to the abysmal pitching staff. To that I respond sarcastically with these three words-The Philadelphia Phillies. They had arguably the best starting rotation in either league and got bounced in the first round by a St. Louis team that was submerged in the standings deeper than Captain Nemo not too long ago. Why did they collapse? Because their number 4, 5 and 6 hitters didn't hit, that's why. And as much as baseball pundits will have you think that good pitching will always beat good hitting, you need to score runs to win.

As for the injuries, I find it a bit ironic that once his steroid use became public knowledge and his buffoon of a cousin (who A-Rod so elegantly threw under the bus as nothing more than an inconsequential flunky) was ousted from the Yankee clubhouse, he can't stay healthy. Maybe, just maybe, all those steroids were the reason why he was so good in the first place. He has been rumored to have been on a regimen ever since high school, let's not forget. more Primobolan, no more production. All while the injuries pile up and the stats go south.

Since no other club in their right mind (especially given the economic climate we're currently in, where though the poor are getting hosed the rich are the ones whining and bitching up a storm) would trade for A-Rod because of his monstrous contract and diminished offensive skills, the Yankees are stuck with him. What to do now? I'm glad it's not for me to decide, that's for sure.

The Yankees are stuck with the last remaining relic of the Steroids Era, a bloated dinosaur whose clubhouse nickname is "bitch titties" due to the effects the 'roids  had on his physique. They'll have to keep paying more and more money for ever-diminishing production over the next six years, when he turns 42. He may eventually limp into the career home run record, but it will not be the parade Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa experienced. My guess is the Yankees will be relieved given that if and when he reaches that milestone, they would be that much closer to striking his contract off the books.

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