Long View In The Short Term

Last March, Tim Marchman wrote an article wherein he looked at ARod’s contract — edit: prior to just after the Boli acknowledgment — pondering if the Yankees had lain down with arguably the game’s best player in the last two decades in a way that put ink on potentially “the biggest financial disaster in baseball history.”

“Whatever the exact state of his hip right now, the most significant number he’s playing for isn’t 763 but 138. That’s how many games he played last year; it might be more than he ever plays again.”

He didn’t play 138 games this year. It is mathematically possible for him to top 138 if the Yankees go long in the Pennant Series and (potentially) the World Series. Regardless of how he performs in the ALCS/WS as a fielder and player this year, the frame represented by that contract makes it a difficult — if not impossible — question to answer even should the Yankees win a ring this year. Or next. Or After. There are nine more years and ~250 Million dollars assigned to one player. The Yankees played the winner in two of three (89-44) since ARod came back in early May.

I wonder what Tim Marchman might say so far in comment to his pondering back at the start of this season. I doubt it can possibly be the “biggest financial disaster”, but also think it is a question (barring catastrophic injury) that can’t be answered in the next few years. Which is the whole point when gambling on a player as rare as Alex Rodriguez.

Hypothetically, if the Yankees do win the series this year, how far did ARod go in one year to earning that ten-year payout? Pretty far? Not far enough? Just paying back what he already took from the till?

On Friday we will see a few more threads woven in what will be either this year’s tapestry or throw-rug. But for all the cost of his skill, it does not appear to be a misstep.

18 comments… add one

  • Winning a championship goes a very, very long way towards balancing out a deal. No one will ever question the deal that sent Hanley Ramirez, annually one of the best players in the game, to Florida, because without Josh Beckett (Lowell helped too) the Sox very likely do not win a championship in 2007. Even with the Sox’s massive and sometimes crippling shortstop issues, every Boston fan would make that trade every day of the week.
    The Yankees have paid only money to a player who is annually one of the best players in the game. He continues to prove why he deserves that mantle. According to Fangraphs, A-Rod has returned nearly equal value in solely on-field production (although that value will take a hit this season with his limited playing time). Alex will be hard-pressed to match that $20-$25 million a year when he’s in his upper-30s and 40s, but if I would put money on anyone playing that well for that long, it would be Alex. There is absolutely no question in his work ethic and drive to play the game, and as we’ve seen this year, A-Rod has that ever-important ability of health. He suffered a pretty catastrophic injury, and came back just as good as ever. That bodes well, I think, for his future.
    What people often miss is the cost of NOT having Alex Rodriguez in the lineup. We’ve all seen how utterly vital he is to this team’s success. I loathe to think what it would be like with a revolving door of suck at the hot corner. Well, I guess it would be much like the shortstop position out East.
    All I have to say is: thank you Aaron Boone, twice over.

    AndrewYF October 12, 2009, 8:07 pm
  • who the fuc* is tim marchman?…is he relevant?

    dc October 12, 2009, 8:26 pm
  • ARod surpassed my expectations, given his offseason surgery. I really figured he’d struggle, and he didn’t. The team took off about the time he returned. It was no coincidence.
    That said, let’s wait until the Yanks’ season is over. The doubts about him since he’s been in the Bronx haven’t been regular season related. No one doubts his talent. They’ve been post-season, enormo stage related. Let’s see what happens from here. I’ve been a vocal critic so I’ll be here to tip my cap if it’s deserved.

    I'mBillMcNeal October 12, 2009, 10:26 pm
  • he might suck from here on out bill…the thing is, hopefully the pitching holds up, and the rest of the offense starts contributing…if not, they lose, oh well…arod has been a good player for the yanks, regardless of the knocks on him…

    dc October 12, 2009, 10:47 pm
  • Yanks didn’t pay him to only be a good player.. hehe. IBM is right, he can hit 60 HRs next year and people might be impressed, but he’ll always be graded by his postseason success or lack of, fair or not.
    Let’s beat those Angels.

    Lar October 13, 2009, 12:03 am
  • A-Rod is a big part of filling a 1.5-billion dollar stadium. He’ll continue to be that late in his career if he is closing in on all kinds of records – incl 800 HRs. It’s not what fans want to hear, but putting butts in the seats is also a major (the major?) factor for a team gauging whether they spent well.

    IronHorse October 13, 2009, 1:14 am
  • What sucks for ARod is that if he does poorly in the ALCS or WS, and the Yankees lose in that series, he’ll be blamed for the loss regardless of everything leading up to it.

    Atheose October 13, 2009, 7:32 am
  • “…Yanks didn’t pay him to only be a good player.. hehe….”
    ;) i guess i meant “great” lar…no question that he’s been great in the regular season for the yanks…

    dc October 13, 2009, 7:48 am
  • A-Rod has now hit to the tune of an .879 OPS in his postseason career for the Yankees. That’s better than such famous Yankee sluggers as Paul O’Neill (.815), Tino Martinez (.665, holy crap), Bernie Williams (.850), and certainly Scotty Bro (.696).
    Anyone who suggests that A-Rod is one of the main reasons for why the Yankees haven’t won a WS since his arrival is aggressively stupid.

    AndrewYF October 13, 2009, 8:41 am
  • amen andrew…still a team game…the yankee performance in recent post seasons cannot be laid at his feet alone…most of the team went into slumps, including the pitching, as i recall…the level of competition in the playoffs exposed some flaws that cashman tried to fix in this past off season…the jury’s still out until we see how the rest of this plays out…
    in the meantime, check out ol’ mariotti trying to put the hex on us…
    http://jay-mariotti.fanhouse.com/2009/10/12/between-a-rod-and-fate-yankees-cant-lose/

    dc October 13, 2009, 9:58 am
  • I’m with Andrew. In his post-season career with the Yankees, A-Rod’s line is .253/.370/.473, with 19 runs, 15 RBI, and 9 HR. Not a great line, to be sure, but not exactly a black hole of suck that could take down an entire team, either.
    Of course, most of the fans who pay attention already know this. The “A-Rod chokes in October” meme is largely a media phenomenon, and it’ll be nice if A-Rod can silence it this year, because it’s grown tiresome.
    Meanwhile, as a team since 2004, the Yankees’ postseason line is .247/.321/.416, with a team ERA of 4.41 to boot (5.12 if you leave out this year). That’s why they’ve sucked. It’s not A-Rod’s fault, it’s the entire team’s.

    Rex Manning Day October 13, 2009, 9:59 am
  • While I agree with the general theme here (A-Rod has been better in the post-season than is often acknowledged) he did have a couple absolutely horrid post-season series since joining the Yankees. I don’t like the small samples being blown out of proportion either, but I also don’t like forgetting them entirely.
    A-Rod’s averages in Yankee post-seasons mask an incredible inconsistency, with stupendous ALDS outings vs. MIN this year and in 2004, and then horrible ALDS outings vs. LA and Detroit in 2005 and 2006. No one, including A-Rod, is the only reason they did not advance those two years, and the samples are indeed small, but the numbers should be considered.
    In the 2005 ALDS he batted .133 and slugged .200. Now his OBP was still .435 because the Angels walked him 6 times in 5 games and so this is the post-season series that I most lay at the feet of those who batted before and after A-Rod – he wasn’t hitting, but he was getting on plenty. Having said that, he also K’d 5 times in those games and hit into two GIDPs – and I recall these DPs like they were yesterday – they seriously hurt. (Incidentally, if that series is an indicator of how Soscia wants to handle A-Rod – especially given that Angels Stadium is A-Rod’s favorite park to hit inoutside of NYS – then expect lots of pitching around him…and let’s see if the rest of the line-up can make the Angels pay this year. If Hideki Matsui and Jorge Posada show up, LA is in trouble).
    In the 2006 ALDS vs. Detroit that only went 4 games, he seriously went into the tank. He got only one hit (a single), batting AND slugging .071 with an OBP of .133. No pitching around A-Rod that year as he did not walk a single time and he K’ed 4 times.
    Now if you take only these two post-seasons he is among the worst every-day players to play in the post-season those years. And if you take only his ALDS series in ’04 and ’09 he is among the best ever.
    This is all to say that post-season offensive numbers, especially single series numbers, are drawn from so few PAs that they really need to be taken with a grain of salt. And yet, there is also something to be said for consistency. A-Rod’s absolute disappearing act in two consecutive ALDSs – and especially in the Detroit series – are the main reasons that he got the reputation that he did. Remember: even though it was the media, some boneheaded yfs, and many opposing fans that blew that reputation out of proportion, it was none of these that dropped him to the 8-spot in the order in the ALDS vs. Detroit.

    IronHorse October 13, 2009, 10:35 am
  • Apparently LAA can’t really hit lefties.. any thoughts to CC possibly starting game 1 and 4 (and 7, in that scenario)? If I had to choose anybody for three day rest, CC would be up there.

    Lar October 13, 2009, 10:54 am
  • Lar, I think that’s probably the most interesting call that Girardi has to make going into the series. While I have lots of confidence in this offense, and Girardi has indicated that Gaudin could get the start, i have a hard time believing that when push comes to shove, he wants to throw his lot in with Gaudin when he’s got a guy in CC who has proven he can do it on 3 days rest.
    If the Yanks lose homefield advantage in the first two games and don’t get it back with a win in game 3, I would be shocked to see Gaudin put up to start game 4. On the other hand, if the Yanks have won 2 of the first 3 and Girardi knows that in the worst case scenario he is coming back to NY, then he might keep CC on regular rest.
    i guess what I’m saying is that the only scenario in which I could see a Gaudin start is if the Yankees already have 2 wins (or 3!!) under their belt. And even in those scenarios, I would not be surprised to see CC start.

    IronHorse October 13, 2009, 11:29 am
  • In the end it is branding.
    A Rod will go down as one of the greatest players in the game and he will go in as a Yankee (because of tenure, and success…even if they don’t win a world series they should be in the mix, and have been, for a good deal of his tenure).
    When (and if) he gets to the milestone numbers, besides the seats being filled, the jerseys being sold, and the hats, and the signatures, and the photos with Yankee uniforms, it will also provide YES with exclusive image and replay rights to huge moments in MLB history.
    These are not intangibles. They are numbers that were crunched and crunched again, departments created (like Random House’s Dan Brown dept), revenue streams explored, all based on Alex Rodriguez’ success and performance inside of a Yankee branded outfit.
    If the rest of the team continues to slump and we lose the Angels series (which we should not lose) I think that many people will realize, at that point, that Alex might have been the single reason we won the ALDS since most of the rest of the team took off during that as well.
    All in all, A Rod, barring a career ending injury in the very near future or some kind of catastrophic PR nightmare (i.e. driving a ferrari into a busload of kids while smoking meth), will pay out in a big way for the Yankees brand.

    walein October 13, 2009, 12:34 pm
  • Agreed on A-Rod’s value. Disagree on what has been said here a couple tiems re: the Yankee team failing in the ALDS. Even those who did not get a lot of hits got hits when it counted (Teixeira, Swisher, etc.) and others (Jeter, Matsui) were steadily productive. There were also very important defensive plays made by Jeter, Gardner, Swisher, and Teixeira. A-Rod got the big bombs and we’d all like the line-up as a whole to be hitting (wake up Johnny and Melky!), but the Yankees played well in the ALDS beyond A-Rod.
    One concern is Hughes. He went from dominating in the regular season to very hittable vs. MIN. If he owns the 8th, which he still does, we need him to be on.

    IronHorse October 13, 2009, 1:09 pm
  • Yanks going with the 3 man rotation, Angels starting Kaz in Game 4. This is going to be amusing, and hopefully the Yanks start hitting just in time!

    Lar October 14, 2009, 6:55 pm
  • With much love to Wang, it’s been awhile where the Yanks had someone who you really can start on 3 days without really questioning it.. ah, the luxury of having an ace.

    Lar October 14, 2009, 6:57 pm

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