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Friday, October 12, 2012

Alex Rodriguez not so happy to be pinch-hit for this time

Rodriguez: Still searching for sugar, man.

The game ended with Alex Rodriguez as a spectator again, and this time he didn’t exactly greet the demotion with a smile that lit up the room.

This time, he didn’t sound as supportive as he did the night before, when Raul Ibanez turned Game 3 into his career highlight reel and put the Yankees on the brink of a first-round victory. This time, Rodriguez pursed his lips and made his feelings pretty clear: He might have gone 1-for-4 with two more strikeouts, but he wasn’t the only guy who looked clueless against Baltimore pitching.

And he also made this clear: He didn’t expect to get lifted for a pinch-hitter in the 13th inning of the Yankees’ 2-1 defeat, which ended when Eric Chavez lined out to the game’s hero, Orioles third baseman Manny Machado.

“No, no — obviously I’ve gotten a look at this guy for a couple of days now,” Rodriguez said of closer Jim Johnson, “and I hoped it was a little bit different today, but it wasn’t.”

It wasn’t.

Joe Girardi had let the world know what time it was Wednesday night when he lifted A-Rod in the ninth and turned Ibanez into the darling of the Bronx, so this call wasn’t exactly surprising.

Repoz Posted: October 12, 2012 at 05:51 AM | 144 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: yankees

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   101. salajander Posted: October 12, 2012 at 02:15 PM (#4266248)
Ballsy? It's a stupid move both from a pure baseball perspective and a clubhouse and player psyche perspective.

I guess you have to be a bit ballsy to make a stupid move.

I agree with the Ibañez PH, but not the Chavez PH, and certainly not tonight's lineup.
   102. Christopher Linden Posted: October 12, 2012 at 02:15 PM (#4266251)
I think Moreno has to be looking at Rodriguez's struggles and thinking, "There but for the Grace of God ..."

FWIW, A-Rod has hit for an OPS below .650 in 6 of his 12 postseason series with New York, including all four over the past three years, and in 3 of those 6 was under .400. He has been very good to dominant in all of the other 6, though sometimes well below his regular-season standard. By comparison, Jeter has 4 sub-.650s during the same span. Both of A-Rod's two best Yankee playoff sets beat Jeter's two best (2004 on) by OPS, but A-Rod's worst is (slightly) worse than Jeter's worst and he has three series worse than Jeter's #2 worst.

Happy Base Ball
   103. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: October 12, 2012 at 02:15 PM (#4266253)
Benching A-Rod tonight is a ballsy move by Girardi, who's carrying his around in a wheelbarrow.

Rodriguez vs. Hammel in his career, including this postseason: 8 hits, 24 at bats, four homers, .333/.448/.833


I used to think being ballsy and being stupid were different things but they seem to have converged over the years.
   104. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: October 12, 2012 at 02:18 PM (#4266257)
Okay, I guess you mean Austin Jackson, who's had his breakthrough year in 2012 after posting an 88 OPS+ last year.

He's been a 5+ WAR player every year of his career.


Look, I like Jackson and I hope he turns out great. But when I see those dWAR totals that go from 3.4 to 0.8 in a single season, I have to wonder just how much attention should be paid to them. What, has he suddenly lost that much range at the age of 25?

(Pause for a BB-Ref check....)

OTOH since his SB/CS went from 22/5 in 2011 to 6/9 in 2012 after his return from injury (after beginning 6/0), perhaps the explanation for that dWAR slide comes from an injury aftereffect that might also affect his fielding range.

Putting all that together, I'm not sure what to make of him. For a CF he's got middling power, an apparently diminishing range (until further notice), negative baserunning skills (again, until further notice), and an improving batting eye but still tons of strikeouts. I'd be wanting to see what his baserunning stats and fielding range look like next year before drawing any long range conclusions about him. Wouldn't you?
   105. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: October 12, 2012 at 02:18 PM (#4266259)
This is developing into a saga that ends with the Yankees eating an eight-course dinner comprised entirely of A-Rod Contract.
   106. bunyon Posted: October 12, 2012 at 02:20 PM (#4266262)
I think Moreno has to be looking at Rodriguez's struggles and thinking, "There but for the Grace of God ..."

Give it a few years.
   107. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 12, 2012 at 02:21 PM (#4266263)
FWIW, A-Rod has hit for an OPS below .650 in 6 of his 12 postseason series with New York, including all four over the past three years, and in 3 of those 6 was under .400. He has been very good to dominant in all of the other 6, though sometimes well below his regular-season standard.


Would that be surprising? I would think if you broke down a player's season into 5-15 game segments you'd find such variety. A-Rod is streaky for a great player (even in his prime) so that he would have higher highs and lower lows than Jeter wouldn't be a surprise to me.
   108. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: October 12, 2012 at 02:25 PM (#4266268)
I want to hang out with David Eckstein, because I think I could beat him up.
   109. Mom makes botox doctors furious Posted: October 12, 2012 at 02:28 PM (#4266273)
"One wonders if Pujols will end up in the same boat."

One doesn't have to. Pujols has a family, children, including one child that he is publicly devoted to in terms of raising awareness of his medical condition. He also has God, which .. is what it is and is what it means to him. He doesn't allow himself to be photographed kissing mirrors for national magazines

So, no; one doesnt wonder if Pujols becomes his day's A-Rod
   110. Mom makes botox doctors furious Posted: October 12, 2012 at 02:28 PM (#4266274)
2 x post
   111. jmurph Posted: October 12, 2012 at 02:30 PM (#4266276)
I think Moreno has to be looking at Rodriguez's struggles and thinking, "There but for the Grace of God ..."

Give it a few years.


Seriously. Pujols is well on his way, only instead of 6 scary years they might be looking at 8 or 9.
   112. puck Posted: October 12, 2012 at 02:31 PM (#4266280)
While I doubt there are many ballplayers I'd want to be close friends with - you don't have to be a terrifying egotist to be a pro ballplayer, but it helps - I think the large majority would be fun to have a beer with.

Didn't Bill James write in one of the Abstracts or Baseball Books that the majority of long-career star players he'd met were really nice people?
   113. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 12, 2012 at 02:31 PM (#4266281)
Putting all that together, I'm not sure what to make of him. For a CF he's got middling power, an apparently diminishing range (until further notice), negative baserunning skills (again, until further notice), and an improving batting eye but still tons of strikeouts. I'd be wanting to see what his baserunning stats and fielding range look like next year before drawing any long range conclusions about him. Wouldn't you?

Not really. He's a plus to plus-plus fielder (+15 FRAA even this year) and was a 1.7 oWAR player even in his 88 OPS+ year. He's been a steady 5+ WAR player his whole career and looks to only get better. He's lost the big leg kick and is controlling the strike zone better and had a big 2012. At around 16 WAR over three years for around the minimum salary, he's been a steal.

   114. bunyon Posted: October 12, 2012 at 02:33 PM (#4266282)
Nathan, it's a good point (about Pujols' family, etc.). Like I said, we don't really know these people. I hope that when, and if, Pujols' career resembles A-Rod's at the moment, he can deal with it well. Of course, we have no way of knowing that A-Rod isn't dealing well with it, either.

But I just mostly meant happiness from a professional standpoint. The guys that stay in one place certainly seem to stay beloved much longer, though I suppose most buy that love for several, or perhaps, tens of millions of dollars.
   115. rlc Posted: October 12, 2012 at 02:34 PM (#4266285)
It certainly seems as if leaving your first team leads to more unhappiness for big name players.


I have trouble imagining Reggie Jackson remaining an A for his entire career.
   116. Mom makes botox doctors furious Posted: October 12, 2012 at 02:37 PM (#4266291)
Bunyon - yeah, I actually posted and then thought perhaps you were writing only about the 'a man and his career' perspective. Got it :-)
   117. Christopher Linden Posted: October 12, 2012 at 02:38 PM (#4266294)
That was more of a small data dump than anything else. I don't think it's particularly surprising, but the fact that he's had so many BAD series, especially recently, drives the perception. Another little datum/tidbit: His last good postseason series was his tremendous 2009. Prior to that was 2007 (2008 was the Year the Yankees Missed the Playoffs) when he hit .820, but even that was more than 200 points below his RS mark. And of course he hasn't hit a home run in forever. Looking at his overall playoff numbers, his postseason production comes largely from walks; his isolated OBP goes up by about 25 points from RS to PS, but his BA declines by 42 points and isolated slugging by about 50. Given that common fans & media still a) divide star players into Table-Setters and Run-Producers and b) insist that the biggest-money guys be the latter, the BA/SLG declines standout even more.

Happy Base Ball
   118. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 12, 2012 at 02:57 PM (#4266317)
One doesn't have to. Pujols has a family, children, including one child that he is publicly devoted to in terms of raising awareness of his medical condition. He also has God, which .. is what it is and is what it means to him. He doesn't allow himself to be photographed kissing mirrors for national magazines


It's hardly unheard of for a guy viewed as a good guy to turn out vastly different. It's an extreme example but I don't think people in 1985 would have ever guessed how OJ Simpson would be viewed a decade later.

I wouldn't bet on Pujols being a reviled figure in 5-9 years but I think any assumptions in either direction are probably a bit too optimistic/pessimistic.
   119. Moloka'i Three-Finger Brown (Declino DeShields) Posted: October 12, 2012 at 03:01 PM (#4266325)
I'm not so sure that this move is stupid. ARod certainly seems to be both injured and highly confused at the plate. If the Yankees advance, there might even be a case (maybe not a great one, but a case) not to roster him for the ALCS. That other guys have also sucked is kind of irrelevant, as they should be analyzed on their own terms.
   120. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: October 12, 2012 at 03:05 PM (#4266333)
holy cow.
   121. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: October 12, 2012 at 03:06 PM (#4266335)
If the Yankees advance, there might even be a case (maybe not a great one, but a case) not to roster him for the ALCS.
I'd like to hear this case...
   122. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: October 12, 2012 at 03:08 PM (#4266338)
It's hardly unheard of for a guy viewed as a good guy to turn out vastly different. It's an extreme example but I don't think people in 1985 would have ever guessed how OJ Simpson would be viewed a decade later.

Kirby Puckett is the poster child for this phenomenon.
   123. Moloka'i Three-Finger Brown (Declino DeShields) Posted: October 12, 2012 at 03:12 PM (#4266345)
I'd like to hear this case...


He's playing like crap? They might have a better option for the here-and-now?

I'm not anti-ARod, and I think most of the criticisms against him have been unfair and often petty. And not rostering him would be mega-ton blast from a PR perspective. It's just a feeling I have, watching the games, that he's pretty much got little chance of helping his team win games right now.

Not a great case, like I said, but there you go.
   124. BDC Posted: October 12, 2012 at 03:25 PM (#4266366)
Yes, who knows what will happen to Pujols in life, but I would imagine that the two WS rings, and some enormous moments in the postseason, buy him immunity from some of the stuff that AROD has put up with. Just in terms of media attention and image. Albert doesn't have a cuddly persona, but he has absolutely nothing left to prove. Despite 2009, it seems like AROD always does.
   125. Ron J2 Posted: October 12, 2012 at 03:25 PM (#4266368)
#57 Kind of amazing. You've written God knows how many articles and your obit is going to feature one (great) throw away line that turned into one of the longest-running internet memes ever.
   126. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: October 12, 2012 at 03:27 PM (#4266372)
I've never really understood the appeal of win a dinner with celebrity X type contests.


Not even porn stars?
   127. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: October 12, 2012 at 03:45 PM (#4266390)
Putting all that together, I'm not sure what to make of him. For a CF he's got middling power, an apparently diminishing range (until further notice), negative baserunning skills (again, until further notice), and an improving batting eye but still tons of strikeouts. I'd be wanting to see what his baserunning stats and fielding range look like next year before drawing any long range conclusions about him. Wouldn't you?

Not really. He's a plus to plus-plus fielder (+15 FRAA even this year) and was a 1.7 oWAR player even in his 88 OPS+ year. He's been a steady 5+ WAR player his whole career and looks to only get better. He's lost the big leg kick and is controlling the strike zone better and had a big 2012. At around 16 WAR over three years for around the minimum salary, he's been a steal.


No doubt about that last claim, but my "not sure what to make of him" was going forward, and was looking at his 6/9 SB/CS ratio after his return to the lineup in June, along with his big dropoff in defensive WAR from 2011 to 2012. Since a fair amount of Jackson's potential value lies in his legs, that pair of numbers raises a question as to how much we can count on that. Hopefully he'll recover those speed-related skills over the Winter, but it hasn't happened yet.
   128. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 12, 2012 at 03:45 PM (#4266391)
He should be traded this offseason. What an awful deal that was."


It wasn't awful. Not at all. Granderson has hit 40 plus homeruns his past two seasons and finished fourth in the MVP voting last year.


It was awful. But more on that below.

And before we put Austin Jackson in the HOF, let's remember he fell off a cliff after a hot start in his rookie year, was awful last year and after his great first half this year started playing more like what he actually is - slightly above average hitter who is a great defender. He's likely not going to replicate this season again.

Kennedy had a great, but completely unexpected 2011 and fell back into what you would expect him to be in the NL this year. He'd be chewed up and spit out in the AL.


So, basically, if we take away all the times Jackson and Kennedy played well, then they kind of suck.

I mean, okay, but why would any reasonable person analyze things that way?

Here's what I wrote about the deal a couple months ago, on August 22nd:

------------------------------

The Kennedy trade continues to be very interesting:

December 8, 2009: Traded as part of a 3-team trade by the New York Yankees to the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Detroit Tigers sent Curtis Granderson to the New York Yankees. The Detroit Tigers sent Edwin Jackson to the Arizona Diamondbacks. The New York Yankees sent Phil Coke and Austin Jackson to the Detroit Tigers. The Arizona Diamondbacks sent Max Scherzer and Daniel Schlereth to the Detroit Tigers.

So, essentially, we have the following. WAR numbers in parentheses are since the trade. It's a bit complex to unpack since Edwin Jackson was flipped by the Diamondbacks in 2010 for Hudson and Holmberg (still in the minors) (I've combined their WAR below), but I think we have:

Yankees give Kennedy (9), AJackson (14), and Coke (1); receive Granderson (12). Net result: Minus 12.

Diamondbacks give Scherzer (6) and Schlereth (0); receive EJackson (0+4+Holmberg) and Kennedy (9). Net result: Plus 7 and they have Holmberg in the minors.

Tigers give Granderson (12), EJackson (0+4+Holmberg); receive AJackson (14), Scherzer (6), Coke (1), and Schlereth (0). Net result: Plus 5, but no longer have Holmberg.

Of course, I haven't evaluated salaries/contract situations above, which is an integral part. But just going by WAR, the Diamondbacks made out the best, followed by the Tigers.

The Yankees got hosed, actually, giving up two good young players at reduced salaries (Kennedy and Austin Jackson) for an older, more expensive player (Granderson). People don't realize this because Granderson has played well and people seem to have forgotten that Austin Jackson was included in the Kennedy deal.

   129. Bruce Markusen Posted: October 12, 2012 at 03:57 PM (#4266400)
Most of Rodriguez' numbers against Hammel are ancient history. If you've watched him over the last month, he has been completely lost against right-handed pitching, ever since his return from the DL. Almost every at-bat against a right-hander now results in repeated swings and misses, and mostly strikeouts. Even a mid-eighties fastball from a right-hander gives A-Rod trouble right now.

Given this month-long struggle, this is the right move to sit him down against a right-hander in Game Five. If the Orioles go to Matusz against Chavez, then you'll see Rodriguez.
   130. Bruce Markusen Posted: October 12, 2012 at 03:59 PM (#4266404)
Along those same lines, I'd bench Granderson today, too. He's been just as inept as Rodriguez, actually moreso.
   131. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: October 12, 2012 at 03:59 PM (#4266405)
From Sweeney Murti on Twitter:


"Obviously I'm not happy...You want to be in there in the worst way...this is not a story about 1 person, this is about a team."--A-Rod.

"As you know 27 outs a lot can happen. I'll be ready from the first inning on."--A-Rod.

"It's never about Joe. I always have to look in the mirror...don't assume that you've heard the last from us, or me." A-Rod.
   132. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 12, 2012 at 04:03 PM (#4266408)
If the Yankees advance, there might even be a case (maybe not a great one, but a case) not to roster him for the ALCS.

I'd like to hear this case...


If he's not going to be in there against Jason Hammel who is he going to be in there against? He's not going to face Scherzer, he's not going to face Verlander, he's not going to face Fister, basically you keep him around to face Phil Coke. You've got a 25 man roster for the series, everyone on the roster should have a role to fill. I haven't spent enough time looking at who the Yankees have/don't have on their roster but if he's not going to start you're dealing with a guy who is going to be lucky to get 3 meaningful plate appearances in the series. Basically, the argument for not carrying him is the same as for not carrying Andruw Jones.

Having said all that I'd have him in there tonight and he'd be starting Game One tomorrow. But if Girardi doesn't trust him to face Jason Hammel he probably shouldn't have him on the roster.
   133. jmurph Posted: October 12, 2012 at 04:08 PM (#4266412)
Having said all that I'd have him in there tonight and he'd be starting Game One tomorrow.


Speaking of which, it's very bizarre that MLB has structured their post-season calendar as if this was a strike-shortened season that they scrambled to put together. Game 5 tonight and Game 1 tomorrow? I mean I guess it's good for us- fewer days off, more baseball- but it's weird.
   134. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: October 12, 2012 at 04:08 PM (#4266413)
Basically, the argument for not carrying him is the same as for not carrying Andruw Jones.
Significant difference: Andruw Jones is an outfielder.
   135. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 12, 2012 at 04:12 PM (#4266417)
True, but the Yankees don't have a need for an infielder. They are carrying seven of them which gives them plenty of flexibility even without A-Rod. If they aren't going to use A-Rod then they may be better off with a pure speed guy or some kind of glove man somewhere.
   136. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: October 12, 2012 at 04:16 PM (#4266419)
True, but the Yankees don't have a need for an infielder. They are carrying seven of them which gives them plenty of flexibility even without A-Rod. If they aren't going to use A-Rod then they may be better off with a pure speed guy or some kind of glove man somewhere.
That being... ?

It's October. They have the roster they have, they can't make a trade. If they're going to start Chavez, there is nobody more useful to have on the bench than A-Rod, among players not on the ALDS roster.
   137. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: October 12, 2012 at 04:18 PM (#4266421)
100. oscar madisox


Love the handle oscar.

you don't have to be a terrifying egotist to be a pro ballplayer, but it helps - I think the large majority would be fun to have a beer with.


I have beers on occasion with Doug Mientkiewicz. He's a regular guy, and seriously, if someone didn't tell me who he was, I'd never know. FWIW, he was at my last halloween party last year, and enjoyed my homebrew.
   138. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: October 12, 2012 at 04:20 PM (#4266423)
I sure hope he's not aware of the whole thing.


If he ever Googles himself, here's the third result.
   139. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 12, 2012 at 04:24 PM (#4266427)
If he's not going to be in there against Jason Hammel who is he going to be in there against? He's not going to face Scherzer, he's not going to face Verlander, he's not going to face Fister, basically you keep him around to face Phil Coke. You've got a 25 man roster for the series, everyone on the roster should have a role to fill. I haven't spent enough time looking at who the Yankees have/don't have on their roster but if he's not going to start you're dealing with a guy who is going to be lucky to get 3 meaningful plate appearances in the series. Basically, the argument for not carrying him is the same as for not carrying Andruw Jones.


I actually don't think Girardi's benching of ARod tonight is horrible. Nor did I think sending Ibanez up to bat for him was horrible. Or even Chavez last night. No, there's no way in hell Girardi treats Jeter or some of the others that way - and I think Girardi has bought into Andy's "ARod sucks in the postseason except for when he hasn't" hype, but, well, whatever.

But not rostering him for the ALCS would be insane. He's still a good player. In-season splits (last month) are meaningless, let alone four-game splits, let alone the ridiculous "ARod is 0-8 in his last 8 ABs from the sixth inning on with 7 strikeouts" splits that TBS vomited to us last night. He has not said he's injured, to our knowledge.

He is a good player. He's playing good defense. He's no worse than Jeter with the bat. Chavez could hurt himself walking out to 3B to start the game. And then what? Nunez? And if you still don't want to start ARod, you can PH him. Non-rostering him would be insane. It would almost make more sense to move him to SS to start for Jeter.

Chavez also can't hit lefties, IIRC, so they could exploit that in the late innings. And it would be crazy not to have ARod there to PH for Chavez and go out to 3B, if you had to sit ARod to begin with.

This "ARod sucks in the postseason" has taken on a life of its own. The idiots promised after 2009 that they had learned their lesson. Apparently not.
   140. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 12, 2012 at 04:38 PM (#4266446)
It's October. They have the roster they have, they can't make a trade. If they're going to start Chavez, there is nobody more useful to have on the bench than A-Rod, among players not on the ALDS roster.


That's why I noted in my first comment that I wasn't familiar with what options the Yanks had beyond A-Rod. They aren't going to have someone better than him certainly, but someone more useful is possible (assuming A-Rod is a bench player which he presumably would be for the ALCS). I'm a big fan of having specialists off the bench in a short series. Gimme a guy who can fill a specific role, lefty masher, pinch runner, super glove man.
   141. bjhanke Posted: October 12, 2012 at 05:00 PM (#4266472)
I hate to be didactic, but if you chose anyone other than Hal Chase to be the last guy you would want to hang out with, you need to Google or Wiki Chase. You hang out with him, you end up broke, in jail, and watching your wife have an affair with him. But as soon as he turns on that sociopathic charisma, you not only forgive him, you worship him. Then, some time later, you wake up, broke and divorced. - Brock Hanke
   142. bunyon Posted: October 12, 2012 at 05:06 PM (#4266479)
Then, some time later, you wake up, broke and divorced.

Oh. I just thought we were talking about who we'd hang out with in the future, not who we've already hung out with.
   143. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: October 12, 2012 at 07:19 PM (#4266733)
He's been a 5+ WAR player every year of his career.

Sure, NOW you completely buy the defensive component of WAR.
   144. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: October 12, 2012 at 08:13 PM (#4266890)
If he ever Googles himself, here's the third result.

Not only that, but with the Google auto-suggest of searches (or whatever they call it), if you type in "chris truby", the first suggestion is just "chris truby" but the second suggestion is "chris truby satanist".
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