The arbitrator announced A-Rod’s suspension today, and the reduction wasn’t too much. Instead of 211 games, he gets 162—all of this 2014 season, including the postseason, if the Yanks make it there.
It could be we’ve seen the last of A-Rod, who, if he tries to come back in 2015, would be doing so at age 39 1/2 (he’d turn 40 in July 2015) after missing a full season and after having two hip surgeries. You don’t know… come 2015 the Yanks could just say screw this, we’re sick of it and then eat the final three years of A-Rod’s deal. I hope so. I’m tired of the circus.
Alex will of course fight this, but even if he somehow wins (I can’t see it happening), that “victory” would come when, August?
If this is the end for Alex, he falls a bit short of some milestones. His 654* HR are six short of Willie Mays’ 660 (asterisk intentional), ranking him fifth on the all-time list. The .244 average he put up last year knocked his career average down to .299. He was TWO hits away from having that rounded up to become a .300 hitter. He would end with 2939 hits, 61 short of 3000, and he would end with 1969 RBI—31 short of 2000. Baseball-reference. com lists Aaron, Ruth and Cap Anson as the only three to reach the 2000 RBI plateau, and there are problems with Ruth and Anson. Anson’s first five years, (1871-1875) were in a league not recognized by MLB as being major league. Also, RBIs weren’t an official statistic until 1920, making some of Ruth’s total unofficial. Anyway, you can see what an exclusive club 2000 RBIs are (Barry Bonds finished four short and Gehrig five short).
The Yanks opened up roster space for Matt Thornton yesterday by DFA-ing Vernon Wells. Wells hit .233-11-50 for the Yanks last year, but had just one HR after mid-May.
As for now, the Yanks could do a few things. They could platoon Kelly Johnson and Eduardo Nunez at 3B. They could move the aging (40 in June) Jeter to third because of his diminishing range and play good-field/no-hit Brendan Ryan at short.
I’d rather re-sign Mark Reynolds, who had a brief cameo with the Yanks last year and who wants to return.
A-Rod hit .244-7-19, OPS+ 111 for the Yanks last year. 156 at bats in 44 games. If you multiply that by 3, you’d get 132 games, 468 at bats, about a normal full season for one who turned 38 last July. That means .244-21-57. OPS+ 111. No great shakes. Yes, he was coming off hip surgery, but no great shakes, anyway. Clearly a fading player.
Reynolds, 30, played in 36 games for the Yanks and had 110 at bats. .236-6-19. OPS+ 104. Overall, with Cleveland and the Yanks, he played in 135 games, had 445 at bats and hit .220-21-67, OPS+ 96 with 154 strikeouts. Lower BA and OPS than A-Rod, but power-wise about the same. If he is re-signed, and platooned with Johnson at third, the Yanks could get back some of the power lost by losing A-Rod. Reynolds, being 30, may at this point be a better option than the fading Alex.
Reynolds’ 162-g. average is just .233, but 33 HR and 93 RBI (but 209 K). OPS+ 108. Low average, lot of K’s, but a lot of power potential.
If the Yanks re-sign him, they could put out a lineup that could look like this (assuming Gardner isn’t traded for someone like Homer Bailey):
DH would, of course, need to be rotated between the aging (40 in June) Jeter, the 38-year-old Soriano and Beltran. Kelly Johnson figures in here, platooning with Reynolds (batting 7th) or filling in for Roberts (batting 8th then).
Signing Michael Young is another option, but I’d prefer Reynolds’ power. Young is aging himself. He is 37. One concern going into 2014 was if A-Rod returned, you’d have an old left side of the infield with one guy 40 in June and the other 39 in July. Those concerns would not be alleviated much with a SS 40 in June and a 37 year-old 3B in Young. Young hit .279-8-46 for the Phils and Dodgers last year. He is a true pro, but only had 8 HR for Texas in 2012. His power is fading, unlike Reynolds (whose problems are in meeting the ball). Young’s OPS+ was 102 last year but just an 80 in 2012. A .300 hitter, Young averaged .278-8-56 over the past two years, OPS+ 90.
I like Young, but would rather go for the power potential Reynolds provides as well as the youth. Jeter, Beltran, Soriano and Teixeira are all on the other side of their prime years (the downside), and that isn’t even including Roberts, who hasn’t played much the past four years. Adding more age in Young isn’t the way I’d like to go. I’d rather have Reynolds. We’ll see.