Now that Derek Jeter‘s farewell tour has ended, and his year-long drug suspension is almost over, Alex Rodriguez will once again be the talk of the town in 2015. While many see this as a potentially bad thing, I ask you to stop and think about it. Is it really THAT bad? With all the media attention A-Rod will be getting, that will allow other guys to go about their business, without the spotlight shining directly on them.
One guy who immediately comes to mind regarding this, is Masahiro Tanaka. We all remember “Tanaka-mania” when he first reported to spring training for the Yankees. It was complete madness, every reporter/fan wanting to get a glimpse of him, and ask him questions. Everyone was curious to know how he would adjust to MLB, and he made the transition flawlessly. Now, it’s going to be a little tougher for Tanaka, considering he will be coming into spring training with a partially torn ligament in his throwing arm.
That’s where A-Rod comes in. With A-Rod having most of the media attention, that will allow Tanaka to avoid being bombarded day after day with so many questions about him arm. Instead, it’ll be easier for him to focus on the task at hand, which is being the best pitcher he can be, no matter the circumstances.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think A-Rod will just be a media-magnet, drawing them away from the other players. I also believe he will have a productive year for the Yankees.
The biggest key to how productive he will be though, is the kind of shape that he’s in. The fact that he has appeared in only 44 games over the last two seasons and is going on 40 years of age, should concern the Yankees in that department. However, with as poorly as their offense played this past season, there’s no doubt it will be a welcome sight for most fans, and even the Yankees to get back a guy who’s in the top 5 for most homers in baseball history.
If he is indeed healthy, and in good shape, I don’t see any reason why he can’t put up say, 20 homers, with 60-70 RBI in 2015. I really don’t. Before you jump on me for this, just hear me out. No one is denying the fact that he’s never going to put up All-Star caliber numbers again. However, this is still a guy who’s been playing baseball almost his whole life.
This is still (in my opinion) one of the most talented guys to ever play the game. This is still Alex Rodriguez.