Wednesday, November 19, 2008

This is for the Rex Banners of the World

Bring back Bro!
A modest proposal
How the Yankees can solve their third-base problem
By Tom Boorstein /
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Alex Rodriguez failed 61 percent of the time last year. That's embarrassing. (AP)

The Yankees need a plan at third base. What they have now isn't working.

Things were so much better when Scott Brosius was around. That's a third-base plan. Third basemen who put up on-base percentages of .307 and .299 in consecutive years just don't grow on trees. Factor in his twice-monthly barehand pickups and some timely postseason hits and he goes from prized commodity to once-in-a-lifetime talent. Even at age 42, he would be a great fit for this team in 2009. Bring him back. The Yankees haven't won a World Series since Brosius retired after 2001, and they've made only one in that span. That's just too much to be a coincidence. It has nothing -- nothing -- to do with bad luck or a lack of pitching.

The best part of bringing back Brosius? The Yankees could trade or release team cancer Alex Rodriguez. The Yankees shouldn't settle for anything but the best hitter in baseball. Only Albert Pujols will do. Otherwise, the team would just be better off getting some lovable mediocre guys.

Besides, is Rodriguez even one of the best players in baseball? He's won two MVP awards since coming to the Yankees, but everyone knows he didn't deserve them. How can the 2005 award be justified when he hit only 48 homers as a right-handed hitter playing in Yankee Stadium? Roger Maris hit 61. A .421 on-base percentage? He still failed 58 percent of the time, and that doesn't even count the times he walked and just clogged up the bases instead of doing something useful.

And don't even start with Rodriguez in important situations. Does anyone even remember a single ninth-inning home run he's hit to lift the team? No. They are all overshadowed by his infinite failures. Clutch means never failing in the big spot. So that home run off Curt Schilling in Fenway in 2005 doesn't mean anything because he popped up at Fenway in 2006. Forget that shot off Jonathan Papelbon in 2007. He struck out against him in 2008. And that walk-off grand slam against Chris Ray in 2007? That only came because Ray was going to have Tommy John surgery. Don't even bring up the three-run shot off Joe Borowski three weeks later. It probably caused Mike Myers to implode at Fenway the next night.

Just when people think Rodriguez isn't a choker, he fails again. It's almost as if the concept of clutch varies by day and is determined after the fact. Almost. But when was the last time Derek Jeter didn't do something big in the ninth inning? Frankly, Bronx Cheer is surprised Jeter ever makes out. After all, when he wants to reach base, he wills it to happen. So why is his career on-base percentage only .387 instead of something like, say, .850? Respect for the game, that's why.

Think about how selfish Rodriguez is. When he came over from Texas in the 2004 trade, he insisted on moving to a new position to prove he could be more than the best shortstop ever. It was Rodriguez that insisted that Jeter keep his position at shortstop. That was all part of his master plan to watch Jeter atrophy into the worst fielder in baseball and make Rodriguez look better by association.

For the next five years, they know they are going to get elite-level offense and above-average defense barring an injury. And he's durable. But that's too much certainty. The Yankees need someone who will middle along for most of the season, get one big hit the whole summer but can provide the intangibles that help teams win. Those are more important than 45 home runs.

If the Yankees don't win next season, Rodriguez should shoulder all the blame. None of it should go to the aging offense around him that is no longer near its peak, much less at it. It's not Jeter's fault he's turned into a singles hitter or Hideki Matsui's fault that he can't run down to first base without having his knee drained. A-Rod caused that and more. The young pitchers have developed a losing mentality simply from sharing a clubhouse with Rodriguez. Until he's gone, there is no hope for this franchise.

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posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 4:59 PM   2 comments


At 11/19/2008 6:51 PM, Blogger Rex Banner said...

Gee, lets compare a number 9 hitter with a clean-up hitter, that's smart.
Since I know you don't watch most of the games and only look at the aggregate numbers, let me again point out the clutch WPA stat on fangraphs. This number looks at every game situation. ARod was awesome in low leverage situations, but not so much when the pressure was on. Is that the guy you want up with runners on & the game on the line?
The playoffs for the Yanks were in August last year when they were trying to battle back into the race. Go check out his numbers then. Shocking.
I don't dislike the guy, I want him to be great. He just wasn't last year.

At 11/23/2008 5:50 PM, Anonymous Rob Abruzzese said...

I didn't realize there was a third base problem.


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