Monday, March 9, 2009

How will the Yankees do without A-Rod?

It's the biggest Yankee health drama since Babe Ruth had a bellyache - or at least since Carl Pavano bruised his buttocks. Alex Rodriguez - and his torn labrum - are going under the knife today. It should take six to nine weeks to heal, which means he should be back either in April or May.

Some columnists seem almost gleeful over A-Rod being off the team that long, as if his absence will bring back the good old days of the late 90s.

Joel Sherman, in an article entitled "How the Yanks Could Survive (And Thrive) Without A-Rod," writes:
During the 1996 and 1998-2000 seasons, there were 152 instances of a player hitting more than 30 homers. None came from a Yankee, and yet they won the championship in all four of those seasons..... The Yankees three-peated from 1998-2000, and in that period, Scott Brosius hit 52 homers - or two fewer than Rodriguez hit in 2007. From 1998-2000, the Yanks won 33 playoff games, in 2007 they won one.

So, yes, you can win without an all-time slugging third baseman.

The New York Times' Harvey Araton writes:

Maybe the Yankees will hold their own with improved pitching, for which there was no shortage of off-season expenditure, and the brand of baseball that won them four World Series during a five-year stretch almost a decade ago. This is not to say that A-Rod is fundamentally unsound; it’s more his all-thumbs approach to life, his exceedingly unsubtle presence as the reigning clubhouse hub.

For all the talk of the late 90s dynasty, and whether the Yankees could survive without a superstar, there is another example that Sherman and Araton missed. The team didn't just survive but thrive when a big-name Yankee was knocked out due to injury from the beginning of the season until mid-May. Unlike recent years, when the Yanks struggled in the spring, the Bombers went 26-11 in his absence. Yet when this big name returned to the lineup, the Yanks lost 11 of their next 14 games.

That injured superstar was Derek Jeter.

Does that mean the Yankees were better off without him? Of course not.

But for all his drama and histrionics, A-Rod did win two MVPs as a Yankee, and the team would not have made the playoffs either of those years without him at third. It would be nice to see somebody remember that, instead of just waxing nostalgic for the days of Scott Brosius.
What do you think? Leave us a comment!


"Nutball Gazette" said...

Interesting article in Sports Illustrated's Inside Baseball by Cliff Corcoran on why the Yankees "Might" be just fine without A-Rod till he returns in May.

Anonymous said...

Pitching, timely hitting and defense win games. If the Yankees (THE TEAM) do this they will be just fine. The biggest problem with the Yankees is that they are getting older every year at key defensive positions (SS,C,LF) and they also lack team speed. Too many DH candiates for my liking. That's what Yankee fans should be worried about. Lots of homeruns are nice but when your team is basically a base to base club and your defense is suspect, then you get into trouble when you are playing the more fundamentally sound (Angels) or younger (Tampa Bay, Minnesota,Cleveland) or more balanced(Red Sox)teams in the league. You can't always outslug the other team folks; so lets see the Yankees work on being more than a(AROD,Matsui,Texiera,Posada) homer-in-the waiting team.

NAM said...

The Red Sox survived without Ortiz, Lowell, Drew and Ramirez for significant periods of time last year and made it to the AL Championship. Unfortunately, I think the Yankees can survive quite nicely without A-Rod for a few months. As a Red Sox fan I would like to believe A-Rod is the reverse of the curse of the Bambino, but in reality, it's just an injury to a key player. 28 more days (for my team). I can't wait to get things going! Good luck Yankee friends. Our teams are so lucky to be in the AL East.

Alvaro Fernandez Ravelo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alvaro Fernandez Ravelo said...

This is the usual "conclusion" using a very small sample and not analyzing other factors.

The 1996 and 1998-2000 Yankees had superb starting rotation and bullpen and much younger players who fielded better. Good pitching and defense go hand in hand.

This Yankee team has great pitching but does not have a good fielding team, specially in the middle of the infield.

Paul from Boston said...

How the Yankees do in April will be unrelated to ARod for the most part. I didn't look up any stats but I seem to recall CC having an awful start with Cleveland last year; Texeira's numbers are not good in April; Posada is still a question mark; etc. The Yankees have had more losing Aprils than winning ones since ARod's arrival and have managed fine for the most part.

Even if all the bad possibilities pan out, the Yankees will likely make a roaring second half come back anyway so no need to worry about what will happen without ARod. Instead, focus on what the Yankees should do if they get off to a white hot start without him and then slip upon his return. :)

Anonymous said...

Instead, focus on what the Yankees should do if they get off to a white hot start without him and then slip upon his return. :)

Thats easy. We already have a precedent for that. They should do what they did when they were white hot without Derek Jeter in 2003 and then went in a downward spiral once he returned - keep playing.

Fans and media must be big soap opera fans. They thrive on manufactured drama.

Paul from Boston said...

I'll admit a little manufactured drama isn't bad for my attention span when the only baseball around involves teams from other hemispheres.


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