Over the past few days Alex Rodriguez has received a ton of unwarranted hate from Yankee fans around the country. Whether it be on sports talk radio stations like WFAN, Yankee fan forums, or just water cooler talk at the day job; Rodriguez is being hated on and it’s for no good reason at all. Sure, his career post-season numbers aren’t great barring 2009, but that doesn’t mean it’s his individual fault for the Yankees Game Two loss in Baltimore.
As of now Alex Rodriguez is batting .111 with five strikeouts in the ALDS. Those are numbers that New Yorkers are surely going to get on his case about, especially since he’s Yankees fans favorite ‘boo’ target. What we forget is that Alex Rodriguez isn’t the Alex Rodriguez of old, or of three years ago. He’s faced two major injuries over the past five years, including a torn labrum and a torn meniscus; both of those injuries leave lingering effects on Rodriguez’s game today especially in the power department where he hit under 20 home runs in two consecutive years for the first time since his first two seasons as a Major Leaguer.
This is what we have to remember when we think of Rodriguez now. His days of producing 30 home runs and 100 RBI seasons are over. The Yankees will be lucky to get 25 home runs and 80 RBI per season from him over remaining years of his contract.
His contract is another thing that brings Yankee fans into an uproar. “He doesn’t deserve $30 million a year!” That’s a popular belief among the Yankees community and it is okay to believe that, because it’s true. Rodriguez doesn’t deserve the money he’s earning annually based off his current performance. However, that’s not something you should be taking up with Rodriguez. What the Yankees paid for his services was not A-Rod’s decision alone. It was the Yankees organization and Brian Cashman’s ultimate decision. If you have a problem with the 10 year/$275 million deal, blame the front office. I’m sure if you had the opportunity to take that deal you would too.
It’s funny and hypocritical of some Yankees fans who fall in love with Derek Jeter and hate Rodriguez. Jeter is a homegrown talent and a Yankees legend. He’s the team’s captain. Most fans are going to like him more than Rodriguez. Reasonable and justified opinions. However, it’s not justified to hate Rodriguez. He’s done just as much if not more statistically than Jeter in his time in pinstripes.
.292 AVG/.387 OBP/.538 SLG/.925 OPS
.313 AVG/.382 OBP/.448 SLG/.829 OPS
The numbers don’t lie. Rodriguez is a better all around player than Jeter. Jeter is set up for a better end to his career than Rodriguez due to many factors. Such as Rodriguez being bulkier in size and injury history. If I had to rank the top 100 MLB players of All-Time, I would rank Rodriguez somewhere in the 20′s and Jeter in the 70′s. It’s okay to love Jeter, Yankees fans, but I don’t see why you can’t at least like Rodriguez.
A situation was brought up during Monday’s ALDS game; Jeter gets up with the bases loaded and hits a weak ground ball to third, ends the inning and the rally the Yankees had. Rodriguez strikes out to end the game with no one on base and he’s the villain. What’s wrong with this picture?
Girardi will likely move Rodriguez down to as low as 6th in the order for the rest of the series. Possibly 8th if he feels like he’s in a ‘Joe Torre circa 2006 ALDS vs. Detroit’ kind of mood. That doesn’t mean A-Rod is a bad player. He hit .272 this season, which isn’t exactly terrible. He’s just not the player we once knew. His lack of bat speed is a product to the injuries he’s faced over the past few years. He’s going to struggle when he faces better pitching in the postseason.
Rodriguez hasn’t been very lucky in this postseason either. His hardest hit ball was caught inches off the ground and was turned into a double play. If it had gotten through, it likely would have scored a run. There are times where he shows glimmers of hope with his swings.
So it’s not Rodriguez’s fault for the team’s first playoff loss. It’s not his fault that you as a fan have high expectations for a 37-year-old coming off two career altering injuries. Blame yourself, not Alex Rodriguez.