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The Inevitable A-Rod Post

As you could probably tell from my leavings Saturday, there are very few things in life from which I obtain more amusement than watching the New York Yankees underperform.   Until the mid nineties, when New York went on an admittedly very impressive run of four world titles in five years, the Yankees were something of a joke, and it pleases me no end to see them creeping toward that status again.

It's high comedy time in the Bronx, clearly.  They just paid a 42-year old 16 million dollars to post a 5.00 ERA.  And if they did that, does that mean Carl Pavano gave them value by pitching not at all for only eight million?

Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield, Bobby Abreu, Hideki Matsui, Johnny Damon, Craig Wilson in the lineup, but Jaret Wright is pitching the third game of the playoffs, and after Mariano Rivera, the bullpen reminds you of something the Devil Rays might put together.

It's a monumental misallocation of resources, but instead of blaming the front office, the  fans and the media blame their best player, Alex Rodriguez.

Like I said, a joke.

It seems almost unfathomable that the Yankees might cut themselves loose from their best player, divest themselves of the American League MVP in two of the last four years.  But an enraged Steinbrenner, it seems, might be capable of anything.   Despite the fact that we're talking about a player who has basically led the American League in just about every important statistical category at one point or another, despite A-Rod's more than acceptable .927 playoff OPS,  Steinbrenner seems determined to "set an example," and if the report from The New York Post this morning are true, and Cashman has talked The Boss out of firing Joe Torre, Rodriguez might be Seinbrenner's last chance to make that stupid drastic gesture he'd so love to make.

Which means that the best-hitting shortstop in baseball may very well be available to other teams.

Even to teams like the Astros.

I'd miss Adam, I really would.  But Rodriguez, whatever uniform he puts on, is likely to become that team's all-time greatest infielder as soon as he puts the jersey on, and that makes it a no-brainer.  Rodriguez at the age of 30 has already accumulated only two less homers than Jeff Bagwell hit in his entire storied career.  A-Rod's cumulative OPS is 11 points greater than Bagwell's.  And before you decry the loss of defense, remember that Rodriguez has won Gold Gloves himself.

Again I'm not so good at the payroll part of it, nor, as an Astro fan, do I need to be.  At least this century, the simple fact of the matter is, if McLane wants the player, the money doesn't matter.  First, the "special situation" occurred when we signed Kent.  Then another occurred when Andy made it known he might like to pitch in Texas, and a third presented itself when Clemens made it known he might be open to coming back (the first time).

So if McLane took a shine to the idea of A-Rod playing half his games in the field with the locomotive in the background, the idea here is that it would happen.  He's no-one's idea of affordable, but the Yanks ain't on the hook for 25 million dollars a year, either.  It's more like 15--or less than the club has paid Jeff Bagwell in each of the last three years, and less than what the club paid Roger Clemens in 2005.

The thing is, I've never liked A-Rod.  I've always thought he was a phony--so obviously concerned with cultivating some sort of bland and media-safe image that that very effort defined him.  A whore, who in trying to be liked by everyone, showed that he was worthy of admiration by none.

But given the sins committed by many players these days, A-Rods transgressions are relatively minor.  No-one's accusing him of using HGH, he's never beaten his wife in broad daylight, he's never spit on an ump, and if you still doubt, check his reaction--or lack thereof--when Torre dropped him to eighth in the lineup for Game Four of the ALDS.  And contrast that reaction to those of other primadonnas when confronted with the same situation, Sammy Sosa comes to mind.

Or compare A-Rod's post-series comments ("I stunk") with Gary Sheffield's, in which Shef--a first class asshole if baseball has ever seen one--threw his manager under the bus without a second thought.  

And please, please, please don't tell me that A-Rod's recent playoff struggles make him unsuitable. There was a time when our very franchise icons Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell both were deep into postseason slumps, and no-one was looking to kick them out of Houston. Houstonians know that focusing on a ten game sample in light of a 1500-game career is foolhardy.

And that slumps play themselves out. As they did for Bagwell, as they did for Biggio, and as they surely will for A-Rod.

Now, payroll and suitability aside, I don't know whether or not the Astros could offer enough to interest the Yankees.  Jose Jesus de Ortiz suggests Ensberg and Lidge could get the deal done, and if the Yankees are so desperate to rid themselves of Rodriguez that they'd agree to such a deal, you'd almost have to do it.  It's like if someone offered to give you a yacht.  Even if you're not sure where you'd put it, or what to do with it, you have to take it, 'cause c'mon, how many people are offered a yacht, for free?  

But more likely, given the Yankees' pitching failures in October, and given the fact that they're obligated to pay Johnson again next year, New York will be looking for first rate starting pitching.

Seeing how Oswalt is unavailable, that might end negotiations before they begin, and render this whole post more pointless than inevitable.

But not too many have lost money lately betting against the Yankees doing something petty, arrogant, or even stupid, so who knows?