Steve Lombardi takes a closer look at the bullpen over at Was Watching.
As Good as it Gets
What more could he have done? He wasn’t just the best player on his team; he was the best player in his entire damn league.
Oh, yeah, he couldn’t have hit into a double play at the end of the playoffs. He is not Derek Jeter. That is A-Rod’s biggest crime. Even though he is a much better player than Jeter. Much, much better. But he hasn’t won yet like Jeter, so the New York tabloids flog him. Jeter hits a solo home run with the Yankees down 5-2 in a playoff game, and he gets to be clutch. A-Rod hits the same home run in the same spot, and he’s a stats-padder.
Choker? That’s not fair at all. Yes, he had a bad series against the Angels. But that’s an impossible sample size — five games, less than a baseball week. Vladimir Guerrero was awful in it, too. Heck, Ted Williams got seven World Series games, and hit .200 with no homers and one RBI. Is he a choker?
A-Rod’s postseason career: .305 batting average, .401 on-base percentage, six homers and 16 RBI. That’s more postseason homers than Hall of Famers Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Ted Williams and Willie Mays combined. You can’t bury Rodriguez for failing late against the Angels without remembering how he carried the Yankees and four-strikeouts-in-one-game Jeter against the Twins a year ago.
Derek Jacques is tired of the Rodriguez-bashing too:
Alex Rodriguez had an excellent season, a sizeable improvement on 2004. He made some big contributions to keep this Yankees team on top of the division for the eighth straight season. These are facts. So, too, is it a fact that he performed very badly in a five-game playoff series. Everyone can see that. If he wants to get some respect, that’s something he will have to improve. Can’t we leave it at that?
The last word–and I know that many of you are bored of this topic (heck, it bores me but I just can’t seem to let it go)–goes to Steven Goldman:
The Yankees haven’t won a championship during Rodriguez’s two years, but they didn’t win one in the three years before he came either. There are a lot of reasons the Yankees haven’t picked up a ring since 2000. Rodriguez is not part of the problem. He can’t pitch, can’t improve the middle relief, and can’t sit on the bench and pinch-hit instead of the jokers the Yankees usually stash in reserve. Rodriguez hasn’t hit in the postseason, but he will. Regardless, he deserves credit for being instrumental in the team’s drive to the promised land. The fans have given Rodriguez a raw deal.