November 14, 2006

Coping With A-Rod

At least three times I've been approached in the last week by knowledgeable baseball fans who insist that Alex Rodriguez be traded. Well Yankee fans, this may be hard to digest for many of you, but he isn't going anywhere...and he shouldn't.

Granted, players such as Alex Rodriguez are brought to the Yankees so they can be a factor in the post-season. Admittedly, A-Rod has been awful in the post-season, even causing Joe Torre to make a controversial move and drop him eighth in the batting order during the ALDS against Detroit. However, getting to the post-season is not a foregone conclusion. Many Yankee fans consider the regular season to be merely a practice session before their favorite team's inevitable and glorious ride to the World Series. With that said, Rodriguez's contributions, even this past season need not be minimized. Not dismissing A-Rod's surprising number of errors at third (twenty four), he still performed well (.298 batting average, 35 HRs, 121 RBIs, 15 SB). You don't take numbers like that lightly. Toss in the argument that A-Rod isn't "clutch", and I'll say that 121 RBIs are the kind of production that a team needs to be assured of a post-season berth.

Now David Lennon of Newsday has an article today which gratuitously examines Alex's "escape clause" in his contract, which affords him the possibility of leaving the Yankees after the 2007 season. While Rodriguez was careful in his response stating "Well, you know options are there for protection and choice," Rodriguez said. "And my choice is to play for the New York Yankees ... I love being a Yankee..." (quote taken from How many more times does Alex Rodriguez have to assure everyone from the media to the fans that he is ready, willing, and able to play next year?

Come next spring, when Alex plays for the Yankees again, fans should cut him a break, stop booing if he doesn't hit a home run every time he comes to bat, and shrug of his less than "A-Rod-like" 2006, and appreciate the fact that Alex's bad years are still pretty good ones.