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Tag: Alex Rodriguez
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All In

According to Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports, Alex Rodriguez addressed the team for 10 minutes.

Yanks and Phil are on the MLB Network this afternoon. Wallace Matthews at ESPN New York has the lineups.

Enjoy, y’all.

[Photo Credit: MrBrnMkg]

Less is More

Alex Rodriguez spoke with reporters over the weekend. Chad Jennings has the highlights:

“I’ve always felt that more is better. It’s just the way I’ve always done it. It’s the way I saw my Mom work when I grew up. I just felt that I needed to get up early and do the work, and stay up late and do the work. It’s been a hard lesson to learn, but over the past two or three years I understand that doing my corrective exercises, focusing a lot more on recovery (is best). When you’re in your 20s, you think about training and (then) you think about recovery, and at this point in your career it’s actually the exact opposite. To your point, yeah, I think I learned that lesson… The one thing Philippon told me many years ago when he did (the hip surgery) is that less is more, but I didn’t listen to him then. I went back to see him this winter and he’s very happy with the range of motion and how it looks. He reiterated the importance of less is more. I’m on board now.”

[Photo Credit: Matt Slocum/AP]

Color By Numbers: Show Me the Money

Alex Rodriguez stood alone as baseball’s only $200 million man for a decade, but now he has company. In the last six weeks, the fraternity has tripled with the addition of Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder. However, Arod still remains firmly planted atop baseball’s all-time salary totem pole.

10 Highest Paid Players in Baseball History, by Total Value and AAV

Note: Roger Clemens signed a pro-rated $28,000,022 deal with the Yankees in 2007, but he was only paid $17,400.000.
Source: Cots Contracts

If anyone was going to top Arod’s $27.5 million average annual salary, it seemed as if Albert Pujols would be the man. However, the new Angels’ first baseman “settled” on a contract that will pay him $24 million over the next 10 years, meaning he not only fell short of Arod’s current deal, but also failed to topple the contract Rodriguez signed with the Rangers in 2001. As a result, the Yankees’ third baseman seems to be a good bet to remain the highest paid player in baseball history for several more years.

Only two other players have had a longer reign as baseball’s all-time highest paid player. Babe Ruth remained atop the financial heap for 29 years, a period that began when he first joined the Yankees in 1920 and continued until 1949, when Ted Williams finally surpassed the $80,000 earned by the Bambino in 1930 and 1931. After the baton passed from the Babe to the Kid, Williams carried it for another 17 years until Willie Mays finally claimed the throne. Between that point and Arod’s mega-$252 million deal in 2001, the title of highest paid player repeatedly changed hands like a hot potato, with some players claiming the distinction for only days.

Yearly Progression of Baseball’s Highest Paid Player

Note: Records for the period before Babe Ruth are not as complete. Salaries represent average annual contract values with bonuses included. In some cases, actual contract values may have been higher or lower based on interest/inflation adjustments and performance incentives. The highest paid designation was awarded to the player with the top average annual salary before the start of each season.
Source: archival newspaper accounts

Because of Ruth’s immense talent, his salary almost became a defacto ceiling for future players’ demands.  In addition, the depression and World War II played a role in keeping players’ ambitions in check, as did the imposition of salary limits by the government’s Wage Stabilization Board during the early-1950s. Although players like Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio finally surpassed the Babe’s benchmark and broke the $100,000 plateau during this period, it wouldn’t be until the mid-1960s when salaries started rise again.

In 1966, Willie Mays became the highest paid player in baseball history with a salary of $133,000, and then the dominoes started to fall. In the 1970s, a new player became the top man in almost every season, but in 1975, Catfish Hunter put them all to shame. After the 1974 season, Hunter discovered that Athletics’ owner Charley Finley had failed to fund an annuity as stipulated by his contract, so he claimed a breach and was eventually awarded free agency by an arbitrator. Fresh off four consecutive 20-win seasons, Hunter became the subject of a bidding war that was eventually won by George M. Steinbrenner. Hunter’s average contract value of $750,000 (his salary was much lower because of annuity deferments and other consideration) set the stage for the era of free agency that came to a crescendo when Tom Hicks handed out a whopping $252 million contract to Alex Rodriguez 25 years later.

For how much longer will Arod remain baseball’s salary king? This winter, Pujols and Fielder took their best shot at claiming the throne, but came up short. And, with more and more young superstars opting to sign long-term extensions before reaching free agency, it could be awhile before someone surpasses Rodriguez’s average annual salary of $27.5 million (which could wind up being even higher if certain milestone bonuses are achieved). Then again, with baseball enjoying unprecedented economic growth, maybe a $300 million/$30 million man is not that far away?

On the Mend

Alex Rodriguez had surgery on his right knee last month. In Germany. Mike Puma has the exclusive story in the Post.

Oh, and his shoulder too.

Teix Marks the Spot

Alex Rodriguez has been getting killed by the press since the Yanks were bounced last week, but that’s nothing new. He’s getting killed by fans–at least the ones I’ve talked to–and that, too, is nothing new. The one Yankee player who has benefitted most from this is Mark Teixeira. Over at SI.com, Tom Verducci weighs in:

Teixeira, who came to the Yankees as a .290 career hitter, followed that .256 season with another decline, to .248. Put him in a postseason environment, with better pitching and home runs tougher come to come by, and Teixeira’s rally-killing style is going to be more pronounced. He has hit .167 over his last 108 postseason at-bats.

His troubles are particularly acute from the left side. Teixeira batted .224 from the left side this year while getting only four hits all year to the opposite field.

His batting average on balls in play has dropped every year with the Yankees: .302, .268, .239. That’s not unlucky. It’s symptomatic of his hitting style. His fly ball rate has increased every year as a Yankee (37 in 2008, followed by 44, 46, 47). His infield pop-ups, which are no different than strikeouts, and were as low as 14 in 2008, have grown to 21, 30 and 27 as a Yankee.

Teixeira’s swing simply is not built to make him a consistent clutch hitter. After coming to the Yankees with a .308 average with runners in scoring position in 2008, he hasn’t come close to that kind of reliability with New York (.264, .273, .268) — especially in the postseason environment.

Teixeira turns 32 years old next season. The Yankees already have age-related issues with Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter. You can put Teixeira in that category, not because of health, but because his pull-happy, fly ball swing is the kind that doesn’t age well, sort of like those of J.D. Drew and Adam Dunn.

I wonder how long before Teixeira starts to feel the heat?

Alex Rodriguez and the Art of Not Being Un-Dude

Alex Rodriguez had a bad game at the plate yesterday but he is not panicking. Neither is hitting coach, Kevin Long. Josh Thompson has more.  Over at Hardball Talk, Matthew Pouliot thinks it is time for the Yankees to drop Rodriguez down in the order. I don’t see it happening, at least not yet, but you never know…

[Photo Credit: Farther Off the Wall]

I Used to Worry A Lot , I Used to Hurry A Lot

Alex Rodriguez may return to the lineup tonight. Over at Pinstriped Bible, Jay Jaffe makes a good pernt:

The Yankees are now up four and a half games on the Red Sox, who with a 3-11 September record are themselves just three games ahead of the Rays for the Wild Card spot. Given that cushion, the bigger question is why the team doesn’t give Rodriguez even more time to heal, as there’s no urgency for him to return other than to potentially quell — or on the other hand, further — the anxiety about a condition that won’t fully heal. If Rodriguez were to sit for another series or another week, he would still have five or seven or 10 games to recover his timing before the postseason start. It’s not as though he’s got individual milestones at stake, or that he has to prove anything to the yutzes who think he’s gone soft. As we’ve reminded several times in the recent past, and as the Yanks to a man will acknowledge, it’s all about being ready for October.

Yup, what he said.

The Future is Now

Alex Rodriguez is back.

Derek Jeter DH
Curtis Granderson CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Russell Martin C
Brett Gardner LF
Eduardo Nunez SS

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Looking Back

Nice note about C.C. Sabathia’s visit to the Negro League Museum in Bats over at the Times. In the same piece, David Waldstein has an update on Alex Rodrgiuez:

Alex Rodriguez is still expected to join the Yankees in Minnesota on Thursday, but Joe Girardi said that he might not be immediately activated from the disabled list because of uncertainty about whether his right knee is ready.

“We may not activate him for a couple of days,” Girardi said.

Rodriguez, who had arthroscopic surgery on the knee last month, played third base for Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Wednesday, then was expected to fly to Minnesota. (He went 1 for 2, with two walks.) Girardi said he wanted to talk to Rodriguez and perhaps have him get some treatment from the trainer Gene Monahan, work in the batting cage and take ground balls before making a decision.

“A couple of days, if you rush it, could cost you a couple of weeks if you end up hurting something else,” Girardi said. “That’s why we want to take a look at him with our own eyes tomorrow and see how far he is away and see if he’s ready.”

Girardi said he might initially use Rodriguez as the designated hitter in order to ease him back into action.

All-Star Break


Alex Rodriguez will have surgery today on his right knee and is expected to miss between 4-6 weeks.

It was the wise move but this one is going to hurt. I’m curious to see who the Yankees will pick up as a back-up for Eduardo Nunez.

[Photo Credit: N.Y. Daily News]


Code of Hammurabi? Meh.

Joe Girardi, Gene Monihan, Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez was hit by a pitch for the second time this week. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

An excerpt of the Code of Hammurabi, courtesy of Thinkquest:

Although it follows the practice of “an eye for an eye”, it does not allow for vigilante justice, but rather demands a trial by judges. It also glorifies acts of peace and justice done during Hammurabi’s rule.

What does this have to do with the Yankees? Alex Rodriguez got plunked in the sixth inning of today’s game after Curtis Granderson homered to make it 2-0. Much will be made of Alex Rodriguez getting plunked in the sixth inning after Curtis Granderson’s home run increased the Yankees’ lead to 2-0. There will be much ado because while Mitch Talbot was ejected immediately (wet mound conditions or not), yet again, the HBP went unanswered by a Yankees pitcher. The Yankees have had eight hit batsmen in the last five games. They’ve hit only one. The Boston Red Sox sent a message that teams can hit the Yankees’ batters without repercussion.

To date, despite Joe Girardi’s emphatic stance, the message has gained traction.

Columnists are clamoring for the Yankees to follow Girardi’s lead, to start showing some fight and “protect their own.” David Wells, who was patrolling the clubhouse on Saturday, told reporters the Yankees need to “grow some.”

Perhaps Talbot’s ejection led the Yankees to be more cautious in their retaliation strategy. But a passive-aggressive approach has been the Yankees’ stance for years. The recent beanball wars are reminiscent of 2003, when the Red Sox, more specifically Pedro Martinez, routinely hit Yankees batters, often without repercussion. On July 7 of that year, Pedro and Mike Mussina engaged in a classic pitchers’ duel. Martinez opened the game by hitting Derek Jeter and Alfonso Soriano on the hands, knocking them both out of the game. Mussina wouldn’t retaliate. Didn’t even buzz anyone. Fans were miffed. Writers were, too.

At the time, George Steinbrenner said of Martinez: “I don’t know what was going through his mind, but if it’s what it looked like, it’s not good. It’s not good for his team, not good for baseball.” Mussina’s response: “It was a situation that was pretty delicate. I think if I go inside to somebody, the umpire’s going to warn both benches. I didn’t want to lose half the plate. It’s a tough spot. You try to do what’s right. I’m not sure what anybody was thinking, but I felt I had to get guys out.” Not until Game 3 of the American League Championship Series, when Roger Clemens threw a fastball to the backstop with Manny Ramirez at the plate, igniting a bench-clearing brawl for the ages, did the Yankees exact revenge according to the common interpretation of Hammurabi’s Code.

If the code glorifies acts of peace and justice, then the Yankees are doing the right thing and should be applauded by being professional, acting above hitting Indians’ batters and winning the game. But do they have to hit someone to demonstrate protection? Pitch inside. Buzz someone. Make the batter uncomfortable. Move his feet. That could work.

Would the umpires allow the Yankees to pitch inside or buzz someone, or would they warn the benches immediately and put the pitchers in a bind, as Mussina feared? It’s a tough call. Joe Torre, who managed the Yankees in that 2003 game, now sits in the League Office and has jurisdiction over this exact issue. He also caught Bob Gibson, who you know full well would have given an opposing batter a shave by now if his teammates were getting hit at the rate the Yankees’ guys are. At what point will Torre get involved? Should he get involved?

It’s unlikely. The Yankees will do what they believe is right. But will they lose players as they consider the appropriate time to punch back?

Three solo home runs and a clutch RBI single by Jorge Posada in the seventh inning provided the scoring for the Yankees. The arms of Bartolo Colon, David Robertson and Boone Logan did the rest. The most important juncture of the game was the eighth inning. While it won’t go in the box score as a save, Robertson should get one for his yeoman effort. After allowing consecutive singles to start the inning, and then balking the runners over to second and third, respectively, his strikeouts of Asdrubal Cabrera and Grady Sizemore preserved the shutout and pretty much ensured the Yankees would emerge victorious.

Robertson and Logan combined to allow just two hits and struck out four. Contrast that to Friday night, where in a blowout, mop-up scenario, Kevin Whelan and Lance Pendleton yielded five runs on five hits, and walked five. Their performance led Girardi to pull an “I have no other recourse” move, bringing in Mariano Rivera to end the losing streak.

Big Bart pulled up lame covering first base in the seventh inning. He had thrown just 83 pitches and was working on a two-hit shutout at the time of his exit. Given his age, weight, and conditioning (or lack thereof), Colon could be looking at a long stint on the disabled list. The only good news from this: if and when Phil Hughes returns, there’s no doubt where he’ll be slotted in the rotation.

Granderson’s home run was his 20th. Mark Teixeira’s was his 19th. YES Network’s announcers got homer happy. Ken Singleton brought up 1961, and that the recent home run barrage reminded him of that seminal year in Yankees history. Michael Kay mentioned that Maris had 20 home runs and Mantle 18 on this date 50 years ago. Please stop. Granderson and Teixeira are not Mantle and Maris. Moreover, the 2004 Yankees hold the team record for home runs in a season (242). Granted, they didn’t have two guys going shot for shot the way Granderson and Teixeira seem to be right now, but it’s worth noting that the ’04 group, not the ’61 group, is the most prolific Yankees team in that category.

Thunderbolt and Lightfoot

Ian O’Connor’s new book, “The Captain: The Journey of Derek Jeter” was given a fair but tough review by Richard Sandomir over the weekend in the Times Book Review:

O’Connor’s sweet Life of Derek raises a core question: Can a Jeter biography be anything less than an ode to a wonderful guy who has been the face of the Yankees for a decade and a half, since he was 22? Maybe O’Connor’s man-crush is the inevitable result of extended exposure to Jeter and his story. Without a tell-all, what’s left? The tale of a terrific fella who, as O’Connor reports, quizzes dates about their morals and has a “spectacular talent for doing the right thing at the right time.”

But O’Connor is a serious journalist, a former newspaperman and now a columnist for ESPN.com who has covered Jeter’s entire career. Surely he searched for the “other” Jeter, to balance the one who “dated supermodels at night and helped their grandmothers cross the street by day.” (Disappointingly, O’Connor’s notes do not cite any interviews with these grandmas.) Surely he wanted to find a troubled side to Jeter, so he could offer a complex picture like the ones that have emerged in definitive biographies of Joe DiMaggio (by Richard Ben Cramer) and Mickey Mantle (by Jane Leavy).

Sandomir notes that the darkness never arrives perhaps because it doesn’t exist. The book is dutifully researched, he writes, but “O’Connor rarely elevates his material beyond a narrative about Jeter’s greatness as a man and player. A straightforward storyteller, he gods up his subject without irony, detachment or recognition of the hyperbole that comes with so much positive testimony.”

If there is any darkness in the book it is reserved for Alex Rodriguez:

Rodriguez is absurdly easy to criticize. He is blunder-prone and shows none of Jeter’s sense of himself. But O’Connor’s open loathing of Rodriguez is as difficult to accept as his adoration of Jeter. “A-Rod was ruining the Yankee experience for Jeter,” he writes. Rodriguez is a “man of dishonor” after he admits to using steroids. And when he follows his agent’s advice to opt out of his Yankees contract in 2007 (he ultimately re-signed for another 10 years), O’Connor says, “On muscle memory, Alex Rodriguez played the fool.” Once the enemies find detente, with Jeter deciding that a humbled and “emasculated” Rodriguez is worth a second shot, O’Connor extends the saint-sinner imagery to an explicitly biblical level. Here he is, describing the jubilant scene after the Yankees clinched their division in 2009: “The photos captured a beaming Jeter lifting A-Rod’s cap off his head with his left hand and pouring a bottle of bubbly over A-Rod’s bowed scalp with his right. At last, the captain had baptized Rodriguez.”

As the announcer Dick Enberg says in moments of rapture, “Oh my.”

In other words, save your money.

[Drawing by Paul Mcrae]

Small Ball, Big Yuks

Alex Rodriguez had four hits yesterday, all singles. The softest of the four drove in the go-ahead run.

“I showed them, didn’t I?” Rodriguez said after the game.

Hey, a funny!

“We’ve been talking about playing small ball for the last week or two,” Rodriguez said. “I don’t think it could have gotten any smaller.”


[Illustration by Michael Marsicano]

Up Against It

Over at SI.com, our man Cliff takes a look at the Yankees’ aging roster:

The Yankees’ success over the last two decades was largely built around a core of home grown stars in Bernie Williams, Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada, but it’s clear that the end is nigh for each of them. Williams and Pettitte are retired, Posada is 39 and batting just .179 in the last year of his contract, Jeter is hitting a career-worst .255 as he approaches his 37th birthday and Rivera, though still pitching brilliantly, is 41 years old.

The decline of those players has brought attention to the advancing age and cost of the Yankees roster, which currently boasts five players who are at least 34 and earning eight-digit salaries and two other players earning annual salaries north of $20 million signed through or beyond their 34th birthdays. Setting aside Posada, who will turn 40 in August and is in the final year of his four-year, $52.4 million deal, here is a look at the six players the Yankees have signed through their age-34 season or beyond.

[Photo Credit: Ralph Gibson via This Isn’t Happiness]

Hip to be Square

Jack Curry has a piece about how Kevin Long is trying to help Alex Rodriguez:

Long determined the cause of Rodriguez’s struggles, detecting that the third baseman hadn’t been using the lower half of his body to ignite his swing. Rodriguez called it a “disconnect” between his lower and upper body. But what has been especially vexing for Rodriguez, who normally makes rapid adjustments, is that he has labored to make these changes. He knew what to do, but he didn’t do it.

“We’ve diagnosed the problem,” Long said. “It’s vivid. We know what it is. But Alex said there’s been some hesitation. He knows he has to use his legs and he’s telling himself to use his legs. But when it comes time to do it, he hesitates. It’s all about fixing mechanics.”

Rodriguez was so locked-in at the start of the season I have to assume he’s not been entirely healthy since his oblique injury. Man, it’s a beautiful, elegant swing. Just shows how hard baseball is even for the greats. He’s just that much off, and that much is the difference between great and average.

Rodriguez has six years left on his contract after this year. I just don’t see his body holding up that long, do you? And if he can’t swing like he’s accustomed to is he the sort of player who can change his game and still find some success?

Here All Week, Folks

Here’s some Alex Rodriguez notes from Lo-Hud:

• The other two errors belonged to Brett Gardner, who failed to scoop the ball while fielding a single, and Alex Rodriguez, who made a nice play at third and then made a bad throw to first. “That play has to be made 10 out of 10 times,” Rodriguez said. “It’s just kind of an unusual play. I was almost getting ready to throw the ball to a kid in the stands.”

• Rodriguez and Long have been working on his leg kick, which has gotten too high. Both were encouraged by his at-bats today. “I was happy with all my swings today,” Rodriguez said. “I wish I’d get three or four hits, but the bottom line is we won a game. Overall, my balance was good, my strike zone control was good, and if I do that, there’s going to be a lot of damage.”

Nice line…Yanks need to get Rodriguez back in the groove in order for the Score Truck to be fully operational.


[Photo credit: Retro Illustration]

Playing it Safe

Over at SI.com, here’s Will Carroll on Alex Rodriguez’s recent injury:

More speculation? Yes, the chatter got pretty loud when Rodriguez came out of Saturday’s game with what was described after the game as stiffness in his oblique/back. Was this a situation related to his history of hip issues? Simply put — no. This kind of vagueness is a result of the precision we normally see from MRIs not being available on manual testing. Rodriguez’s injury is in that overlap zone where it’s difficult to tell without more advanced tests exactly where the problem is. So why not do it? It’s unnecessary cost and time. The Yankees knew at that point that it was a day-to-day situation, using the experience of their long-time Athletic Trainers. The weather was a factor, I’m told, as the cold day in the Bronx contributed to the tightness. Rodriguez was held out of Sunday’s game, but feels he caught it before it got more serious. The Yankees will watch him closely, but I think knowing there was an off-day Monday tipped the decision to rest him.

[Photo Credit: Herve Bertrand]

Bang, Zoom

Check out this excerpt from Robert Weintraub’s new book, “The House that Ruth Built” over at Deadspin. And dig this piece by Weintraub on Alex Rodriguez and the Babe over at Slate.

The Best for Last

Phil Hughes is lost right now. He’s lost velocity on his pitches and is now lost in space. He threw more BP fastballs tonight and the O’s feasted on that weak sauce to the tune of five runs in four-and-a-third innings. It’s clear that something ain’t right, but what that something is, well, that’ll keep the angst-meter on blast for the foreseeable future, won’t it?

The Bombers inched their way back into the game behind a strong relief outing from Bad Bart Colon and trailed 5-4 going into the eighth. Colon put runners on the corners with one out and was replaced by Joba Chamberlain who uncorked a slider past Russell Martin. Felix Pie charged home from third but Joba beat him to the plate and blocked Pie’s leg, took the throw from Martin and made the tag for the second out.

Went something like this:

Joba struck Mark Reynolds out looking with some easy cheese on the outside corner, end of inning.

That  looked to be the last thing to get excited about as Alex Rodriguez, still hot, and Robinson Cano had two out hits in the bottom of the inning but Nick Swisher, ice cold, rolled over a grounder to end the inning. Joba pitched a scoreless ninth and then Jorge Posada hit Kevin Gregg’s first pitch into the right center field bullpen to tie the game.

And Yankee Stadium was happy.

Even more so when Curtis Granderson lined a ball off Nick Markakis’ glove in right field for a double. But Martin could not get a bunt down and whiffed. Brett Gardner, who has looked overmatched, did the same and Derek Jeter tapped out to short and the inning was over.

Yet all praise the Great Mariano, who worked around a lead-off single, and got the Yanks back up in short order. The lefty Mike Gonzalez walked Mark Teixeira on a full-count pitch to start the inning and then Rodriguez, who has been hitting just about everything on the screws, ripped a double to left. Second and third, no out. Robbie. Worked the count even at two, smacked a line drive right at the shortstop, one out.

The O’s chose not to walk Swisher, batting from the right side. Swish hit a hump back liner to Markakis in right, deep enough to score the winning run.

A.J., pie, game.

Yanks 6, O’s 5. Applause.

[First picture by Michel Gravel]

The Grand Imperial (You and Your Crew Be the Milk Plus the Cereal)

The great Mariano.

Notice the socks?

And the Mike Mussina-like dip?

And the fierceness?

A close call doesn’t go his way.

Really, Blue?

Don’t you know who I am?

The Great Rivera–In Living Color?

Then Alex Rodriguez makes a nice play.

And the game is over.

Another save for Mo. And once again, we are ever grateful.

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