Monday, February 22, 2016

Most Popular Article of the Week: Alex Rodriguez the Mentor?

From Eliot Podgorsky originally seen here:

As the Yankees youth movement continues, they should begin to place a greater emphasis on having their veterans teach younger players everything they can. While players like Mark Teixeira, Carlos Beltran and C.C. Sabathia all have valuable knowledge to impart on younger players I firmly believe that Alex Rodriguez is the player who can help the young guns the most.

Rodriguez is often mentioned as a future managerial candidate. He has eaten, slept and breathed baseball since he was a teenager. His entire adult life has been about the game. He is going to be a baseball lifer. The skills and techniques he has picked up along the way are something that should not disappear when he retires.

Rodriguez has already started helping the Yankees beyond being a player. At the beginning of the 2015 season, Didi Gregorius was struggling offensively and defensively. The shadow of Derek Jeter still loomed largely, and Shane Greene was off to a blistering start. Fans and reporters were calling the trade a bust. Rodriguez worked with Gregorius on his footwork and defense. Gregorius' defense improved too, and that allowed him to focus on his offensive game which was always the biggest concern for him. His offensive game improved steadily throughout the season. The concerns are no longer about if he is a long-term solution at shortstop but rather how much better is he going to get.

Alex Rodriguez tutoring Didi Gregorius

Having Rodriguez as a mentor seem strange considering that until Jenrry Mejia was suspended for life last week, A-Rod was the player who had served the longest PED-related suspension. However, his path to redemption adds to what he can teach players. For the longest time, A-Rod was all about himself. His banishment from baseball changed him, and he is now all about the team. A team first mentality is something you want all players to have. His PED history also serves as a reminder what happens when shortcuts are taken. At one time a sure-fire future Hall-of-Famer he will now be lucky to get in.

Just as Manny Ramirez served as a Player-Coach for the Triple-A team of the Chicago Cubs, I believe A-Rod should fill a similar role with the Yankees albeit playing more often. What do you think of the Yankees using Alex Rodriguez to mentor young players and be a Player-Coach?

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