Don’t blame Alex Rodriguez, blame yourself

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.

Everyone wants a piece of Alex Rodriguez during his recent playoff woes. (Image: Joy R. Absalon, US PRESSWIRE)

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.

Yankee Careers:

Rodriguez -

.292 AVG/.387 OBP/.538 SLG/.925 OPS

Jeter -

.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.

Topics: Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees

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  • Jimmy Kraft

    Great article, Joe.

    I had a discussion on Twitter with someone about this topic. I disagree somewhat with a few of your points, but I do first concede the fact that A-Rod signing that huge deal is simply smart business for himself and we shouldn’t blame him for the money he’s making.

    However, with that in mind, when you’re paid that much money, you better be ready for the backlash, fair or not, when you don’t live up to it. Huge money = huge expectations, and he will NEVER live up to his contract.

    Secondly, on the Jeter front, I think many people give Jeter a pass because of his past as a postseason performer and he hasn’t looked lost at the plate in this ALDS against the O’s. A-Rod, outside of 2009, hasn’t hit very well in the postseason throughout his career. I read somewhere that A-Rod has struck out four times to end a postseason game, most of any player in MLB history. So, lays eggs in the postseason + huge contract = “hatred”.

    Also, I think Girardi needs to be a little smarter here and put his best hitters up front in the lineup. A-Rod is not one of those hitters right now. I think you throw A-Rod down into the 5th or 6th spot in the order and move Cano and Tex up.

    • http://YanksGoYard.com/ Matt Hunter

      Jimmy – A-Rod and Jeter have actually performed about comparably in the postseason, despite The Narrative. Check out my post later today for more on this.

      Also, I’m not convinced that A-Rod is that much worse than Granderson or Teixeira or Swisher or Jeter right now. Yes, he’s slumping, but he could break through that slump any time. He had one of the hardest hit balls on Monday that was unfortunately caught, but it was still a better hit than Jeter’s bloop RBI single.

    • http://YanksGoYard.com/ Matt Hunter

      I take that last part back. You’re right that he should hit 5th or 6th. I don’t think it’s a big deal and I think it’s pretty much impossible to tell who’s going to have a good game on any given day, but Cano should absolutely bat 3rd, and Teixeira probably 4th.

  • Benjamin Orr

    I just hope that the Yankees never overpay someone like this again. Is A-Rod bad? No, but he looks lost in the postseason. People will bring up his 2009 yes, but it’s not 2009 anymore. It’s 2012, three years later. If worse comes to worse, put in Chavez. It’s not like he’s worse or anything.

  • Chris Corso

    Maybe bring up the fact that Jeter hasn’t used serious and A-Rod has and since he has stopped he has been a totally different player. NEVER compare Jeter’s numbers as a Yankee with A-Rod .313 over 18 years is much better then .292 in a much smaller sample.

    • http://YanksGoYard.com/ Matt Hunter

      The A-Rod steroid use was REVEALED before the 2009 season, but the report just said that he tested positive in 2003. He had some monster seasons with the Yankees after ’03, and had a monster postseason in ’09 after the controversy.

      You also can’t just cite batting average and nothing else. There’s a lot more to baseball than getting hits, and A-Rod has been better than Jeter at most of it. He gets on base more, hits more home runs and extra base hits, and plays better defense. They’re both great players, and I totally get that A-Rod is not a likable guy while Jeter definitely is, but based on their on-field production, A-Rod has definitely been the more valuable player for the Yankees.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gretchen.fallon Gretchen K. Fallon

    I’m the villain, posting this rant under my wife’s So why are we still married. That’s not our subject here. It’s poor A-Rod, the aging villain, or Derek Jeter, the heroic captain having a great year? Villain or hero. Who do you blame? I suppose you’re right, it’s nobody’s fault when a player strikes out to end playoff games. And not the big guy’s fault they threw all that money at him. But it IS A-Rod’s fault if he’s hurt and can’t perform and doesn’t pull himself from the lineup. And, with two strikes, it’s his fault for not shortening his swing and putting the ball in play. The other comments suggested that Chavez or Ibanez were now better two-strike hitters and I believe this. If the pressure to perform out of the 3-spot is too much, put him farther down. Batting close to cleanup guarantees you more plate appearances, and yes, you MAY be standing there for the last out. If that’s a problem for your eroded skills, slide down to 9th where your numbers suggest you belong. One extra-base hit in 68 plate appearances equals feeble. For a rookie it would equal Syacuse. Ichiro batted 9th for cripes sake, and then went 7 for 8 and had a couple of home runs. He’s old and has also suffered injuries. We can’t boo Cashman or the rest of the oxymoronic “brain trust” that put this horrendous deal together, so all we have is A-Rod the end-the playoff-game-strike-out king. Thanks for that statistic. It’s not fair, but Cabrera gave up his batting crown. Give us our money back, or suffer the slings and arrows for your lousy play. And management should have the guts to reward good play with playing time and bench the guy who can’t bring it any more.. The playoffs demand nothing less.

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  • http://twitter.com/lixonjeter Yudi la nena B

    He had one of the hardest hit balls on Monday that was unfortunately caught, but it was still a better hit than Jeter’s bloop RBI single.

    Are you kidding me?, it was a better hit and couldn’t drive in any run………as a reader I’m even worst that I’m wasting my time reading your comment and article.
    who scored the run today, who drove in the first run yesterday, who did it day before yesterday, who, who, who, who……..the man Derek Jeter