Friday, September 13, 2013

Should We Hope ARod Is Not Suspended?

In 33 games, since he returned from the Disabled List, Alex Rodriguez has been a big reason why the Yankees' offense has seen a resurgence. Since ARod came back to the Yankees on August 5th, the team's triple-slash is .268/.338/.433, numbers good for 3rd, 3rd, and 4th in the American League. And I don't think that's a coincidence, seeing as how ARod's own triple-slash is at .294/.391/.504. On top of that, the Yankees have scored 5.2 runs per game, as opposed to the 3.8 runs a game they averaged in the previous 110 games.

"You may not like me, but this year's team needs me."

The easy conclusion to make from all of that is that Alex Rodriguez, no matter what you think of him, has been good for the Yankees. And for that reason, many Yankees fans may be hoping he's not suspended for the 2014 season. But the question we need to ask is whether or not ARod would be worth $27.5 million to the team next season. "$27.5 million" being how much Rodriguez would cost the Yankees towards the Luxury Tax.

Using Fangraphs' Dollar Value, Alex has been worth $4.8 million in his 33 games. If you extrapolate that over 135 games, which is actually a bit higher than the number of games he averaged per season between 2008 and 2010, then you come to $19.6 million. That brings us to our next question... is having ARod around worth paying him $7.9 million more than he's actually worth?

To answer that you have to look at the alternatives.

You may need one of these to see the positives in this year's free agent class at third base.

Michael Young is a free agent after this season, and my guess for his next contract is 2 years and $26 million ($13 million a season). Young turns 37 on October 19th (the same day that yours truly will turn 36), and I don't see any team giving him more than that. In the previous 2+ years, he's hit below .280, his slugging percentage has been below .400, and his on-base percentage has been at least 10 points lower than his career average. That's not to say Young is worthless, but he's certainly not worth another 5 year/$80 million contract. And, to be honest, $13 million a season is probably a bit high, considering the fact Michael has only been worth $18.4 million between 2010 and 2012.

I could see the Yankees possibly wanting to bring back Mark Reynolds, who has hit .279/.355/.544 in 22 games since joining the team. The main problem with Mark is that he hasn't played much at the hot corner over the last two years, and when he has his defense has been pretty bad. I suppose somebody like Jayson Nix or Eduardo Nunez could start at third when a ground-ball pitcher is starting for the team, but I'm still not sure it would be a good idea to re-sign Reynolds as the regular third baseman for 2014. Even if it only cost a one-year deal, worth around $8 million (a $2 million raise over what he's making this season).

Eric Chavez has batted .290/.342/.498 in 73 games for the Arizona Diamondbacks, and spent the vast majority of his playing time at third base. While he's not the best defender out there, he's certainly not at the Reynolds/Nunez level. Seeing as how he'll turn 36 in December, he could likely be had for no more than a two-year contract like Michael Young. And at around $6 million, which would be twice as much as he's making in Arizona in 2013, that could be a nice option.

Who wants to see part two of this?

So not only could the team acquire a replacement third baseman, that would be at least a league average hitter, they could do so while spending quite a bit less. And even though that player's production may be a bit below ARod's, you have to take into account that the Yankees could very likely get a gigantic upgrade behind the plate. Like if they sign Brian McCann to replace the duo of Chris Stewart and Austin Romine.

To wrap this up, even though Alex Rodriguez has provided the Yankee offense with a very nice boost since returning to the team in early August, it's still in the Yankees best interest that he be suspended for the entire 2014 season, while they acquire somebody else to play third base. Because that $7.9 million extra they'd be spending on Alex could cover the entire salary of his replacement.

"Yet again, nobody wants me."


  1. As a yankee fan im happy to see arod perform at a high level. Go arod we need his bat to make a push for the playoffs. :)

    1. I totally agree. Without ARod this season, then we could be 3+ games back in the WC hunt. But in terms of next season, I'd be happy without him.


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