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.
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