Saturday, October 4, 2014

Alex Rodriguez The 2015 Starting Shortstop

Many around the Yankees blogosphere and many of the Yankees fans are wondering if the best bet for New York going forward is to have Alex Rodriguez man the shortstop position for 2015 and I could not disagree more. Alex Rodriguez is going to be 40 years old next season and outside of two or three weeks of games in 2013 has not played in two full seasons. Alex has had major hip surgery on now both of his hips limiting an already depleting range, he will be 40 years old and we got a first-hand glimpse at what a 40 year old shortstop can do as we watched Derek Jeter this season, and I truly don’t believe it should even be considered an option outside of an emergency in 2015.

I am not going to stand here and talk about the aura of the shortstop position for the Yankees and how Alex shouldn’t replace the great Jeter because of this and that, get over it. I want the team to win and if Alex at shortstop does that then I am all in for it, but it won’t. Many have argued that Alex came back with a much shorter rest and rehab program in 2009 and still hit 30 home runs and knocked in exactly 100 RBI even though he missed the first month or so of games. Alex was 33 going on 34 when this happened, not going on 40, he had no other issues with his legs/hips during that surgery, and he all but admitted to being on steroids that season. We will see a much different situation and a much different Alex Rodriguez in 2015.

This post was not meant to bash Alex at all, his opposite field power in 2013 was encouraging to me after missing almost the entire season, but it is more meant to be realistic. If the eye test and the obvious doesn’t convince you that Alex probably couldn’t hack it at shortstop, because I am more than willing to admit that none of us truly know for sure whether he can or not, then defensive metrics should. Now while I admit that comparing the SS and 3B positions are a totally different can of worms and so are comparing a 2012 season to a 2014 season bear with me. It will not tell the whole story, no stat does, but it will paint a clearer picture of what to expect, as best as a flawed defensive stat can anyway.

Derek Jeter 2014 UZR/UZR150/Defensive WAR

-8.3 / -12.5 / -4.0

Alex Rodriguez 2012 UZR/UZR150/Defensive WAR

-4.2 / -9.5/ -7.1

That doesn’t exactly give me the warm and fuzzy feeling and it shouldn’t give you one either. You have to expect that A Rod’s metrics will fall from that 2012 season and end up somewhere close to, or worse than, Derek’s 2014 and final season. 

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