Choo-Choo!! The A-Rod Hate Train Is Back On The Rails

Baseball is inching closer and closer to being back, and that can mean only one thing.  It’s time for the A-Rod Hate Train to come back into town!  It’s been a while since that line ran through, but if you mind the gap on your way in and keep your tickets out, we’ll be on our way.

With the start of Spring Training a month and change away, the topic has naturally shifted from A-Rod’s legal issues to his on-field activities.  Everybody knows he’s been working out for a while in preparation for his return, but all the offseason moves have essentially limited him to semi-regular DH/backup third base duties.  According to the New York Post, he’s fine with that:

“’Alex is looking at this season as a fresh start,’ one friend said. ‘He’s prepared to do the best he can in his role as a DH, but he is also preparing to play third base, knowing there will be times that Headley needs a break.

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Quick Hit: The Current Rotation Depth

With the Winter Meetings well in the rearview, the new year dead ahead, and pitcher-catcher report dates closer than you might realize, it appears as though the Yankees have made all the major moves they’re going to make this offseason.  Hiroki Kuroda would have made a lot of sense, but his announcement that he will return to Japan to pitch in 2015 ended the possibility of him being brought back as additional rotation depth.  Scott astutely pointed out how that might not be the worst thing in the world earlier this morning, but even without a declining Hirok the need for more starting pitching depth is obvious.  If the organizational rotation depth was ranked 1-10, here’s how it might look right now:

1) Masahiro Tanaka
2) Michael Pineda
3) CC Sabathia
4) Nathan Eovaldi
5) Chris Capuano

6) Bryan Mitchell (made final start of 2014)
7) Ivan Nova (slated to be back from TJS in May; might not be useful until August if at all)
8) Jose De Paula (made 24 starts between Double-A and Triple-A since 2013)
9) Chase Whitley (pitched to a 4.76/3.81 split in 12 Major League starts in 2014)
10) Manny Banuelos (pitched 76.2 innings over 25 starts in Minors in 2014 coming back from TJS)

That’s not very deep at all.  …

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Yankees Not Valuing Their Own Free Agents

According to Jon Heyman, the Yankees may be willing to go to four years for free agent reliever Andrew Miller since it will surely take that to sign him. Meanwhile, they are still resistant to make that same commitment to their own free agent reliever David Robertson.

There are some legitimate reasons for this. Miller will cost less because he has less of a track record and the Yankees would gain a draft pick for losing Robertson to another team. However, should a few bucks and a pick really stop them from choosing a guy with a one-year track record over a guy who has been one of the best players on their team over the last six years?

Starting with Robinson Cano last year, this would be the second straight season in which the Yankees let a great homegrown player go, instead choosing outside guys to fill positions of need. These are the Yankees, they’re not supposed to be letting their best guys leave via free agency with their money.…

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Miller Time? No Thanks

Miller vs KC

Courtesy of Getty Images

My response to the news Brad discussed, with some disbelief, that the Yankees are in “serious pursuit” of Andrew Miller: At best, I might be ok with Miller as a break-glass-in-emergency fallback for losing David Robertson. Like I wrote in October, I think D-Rob is easily worth $50m, and possibly $60m, over 4 years, and that’s probably enough to land him. But there’s always some chance some random team pulls a Cano and offers 25% more than everyone else, in which case I’d pass on beating an $80m offer, and settle for Miller.

But if the question is which guy we’d rather have for a relatively similar price (and I don’t view a difference of $2-3m a year as enough to tip any scales), I don’t think it’s even close. Yes, Miller had a great 2013 and 2014. But the peripherals and the consistency aren’t nearly enough to expect a similarly great next 3-4 years.…

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A-Rod’s Prospects After Steroids, Injury, Time Off, and 40: An Interview with an Expert Athletic Trainer and Champion Bodybuilder

Dos Equis commercials peddle their fictional man-of-many-feats as the “most interesting man in the world,” but my old friend Stu Yellin can give that old beer drinker a run for his money. I met Stu when we were 5; we spent much of the next decade getting each other in trouble in school, usually when one of us tried to make the other laugh in class by drawing pictures like Spider-Man beating up the teacher (an actual example of a drawing Stu showed me in 12th grade). My art skills never grew past middling (though I did just draw a decent Groot for my kids), but Stu became a major TV cartoonist, drawing the Colbert- and Carrell-voiced “Ace + Gary, The Ambiguously Gay Duo” for SNL, The Tick, and Lizzie McGuire. He then became an art teacher — before becoming a pro bodybuilder too. He got a very late start, competing only as of his early/mid-30s, yet won Pro Cards in various drug-tested federations (most notably the WNBF, the strictest one on substance abuse), and won first place as a middleweight in several “natural bodybuilding” competitions with tough drug testing.…

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And Then There’s This…

The part of the A-Rod steroid re-shaming spectacular where he pisses on Cousin Yuri’s wall as a way to threaten him.  Via The Daily News:

“She [Sucart’s wife] said Rodriguez came to the Miami home Rodriguez provided to the Sucarts in 2010 and vowed to destroy the family if they went public with his use of performance-enhancing drugs. Then he urinated on the wall and the patio, she said, as if to mark the house as his territory.

‘He peed on the floor. He was so arrogant, he came into my house like he thought he was a god,’ Carmen Sucart said.”

I give up.  I’ve got nothing.  We’ve officially crossed over into Bizarro World and the offseason hasn’t even really gotten started.

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Choo-Choo!! Time To Fire Up The A-Rod Hate Train Again

Alex Rodriguez Arriving at  MLB Offices  in NYC

Courtesy of Splash News

Alex Rodriguez‘s suspension has been lifted, he’s back on the 40-man roster, and he’s working out in preparation for his return to the field in 2015.  You know what that means, right?  Time for the New York media to get their collective A-Rod smear games back in action!  Yeah!!  Because a guy who’s already been outed as a steroid user for the better part of the last 15 years, targeted and treated by MLB and the media as the biggest PED offender in the history of organized sports, and had his reputation and credibility completely destroyed in the process obviously needs to be the focus of more steroid-related stories, right?

For instance, did you guys know that A-Rod paid off his cousin who was his drug handler back in the day to keep him from going to media and telling his story of Alex’s PED use?

“In court documents filed last week in Miami, federal prosecutors say Rodriguez paid $900,000 last year to settle a threatened lawsuit by Yuri Sucart, who had worked as Rodriguez’s personal assistant.

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Was It Worth It?: Mark Teixeira

Teix Face

Seen way too much of this face the last few seasons. Courtesy of Getty Images

The biggest of the big anchor contracts in Yankeeland, the 10-year one for Alex Rodriguez, is cloudy in terms of the juice being worth the squeeze depending on how you factor in extra revenue and championships against all the negative headlines and declining production.  The next biggest deal, CC Sabathia‘s, was a little more clear in its worth.  Signing CC to lead a rotation desperately in need of an ace was the right decision.  It worked out splendidly for the first half of the contract before the decision to extend him was made and the move went sour thanks to injuries.

How about the “smallest” of the 3 contracts, Mark Teixeira‘s 8-year deal?  He signed it in the same offseason as CC, teaming up with him and the pitcher I’ve sworn never to name again to form the biggest Yankee free agent haul prior to last offseason.  …

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Was It Worth It?: CC Sabathia

CC vs BAL 2012

The big fella in more dominating times. Courtesy of William Perlman/The Star-Ledger

The top prizes of this year’s free agent crop are 2 upper-echelon starting pitchers in their early 30s.  They’re going to command a lot of money and they could command a lot of years from whatever team eventually lands them.  The Yankees are not expected to be seriously in the running for those 2 pitchers, in part because they’re feeling the effects of their own-long term contract they gave out to an upper-echelon starter in his early 30s.  CC Sabathia has been the ace of the staff in name since signing before the 2009 season, and the ace in production from 2009-2012.  He’s on the books for the next few years and may not be able to pitch a full season or pitch at all again.  So was it worth it?

The Deal- 8 years/$186 million, with a $25 million vesting option or a $5 million buyout for 2017.  …

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