Friday, August 12, 2016

The Greedy Pinstripes Podcast featuring Matt Bove and Jacob Westendorf: Episode 1

Ladies and gentleman, the first ever Greedy Pinstripes podcast. In the podcast Matt Bove and Jacob Westendorf discuss Alex Rodriguez's retirement, Mark Teixeira's retirement, the Yankees strategy at the August 1st trading deadline and much, much more. Check it out and enjoy. 

Leave your comments and feedback in the comments section or shoot us a tweet on Twitter @GreedyStripes with the hashtag #TGPpodcast.

Alex Rodriguez’s Final Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays 8/12

With bated breath and a frog in my throat I am here to bring you the final game thread for the career of one Mr. Alex Emmanuel Rodriguez. I’m a fan and I own a blog, I’m not an insider and I’m damn sure not getting paid for this, so I am allowed to bring my emotions, my passion and my fandom into this and I absolutely, 100% will tonight. I grew up watching and idolizing Alex Rodriguez when everyone else was sporting their #2 jerseys and tonight is a bittersweet night for me. In Alex’s final game inside Yankees pinstripes and Yankee Stadium the team will send CC Sabathia to the mound to square off with the Rays starter Chris Archer. The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on the YES Network, FOX and MLB TV.

To see either of the other two games this series with Tampa or to catch the new-look Yankees going forward this season be sure to click the Yankees Tickets link at the top of the blog where you can secure your seats without paying an arm and a leg in fees and shipping costs. Ticket Monster doesn’t charge either of them. Also be sure to click the TGP T-Shirts link also located at the top of the blog to look the part and showcase your fandom while hanging out with the Bleacher Creatures in the Bronx.

Goodbye Alex, and thank you. Go Yankees and Go A-Rod. Slap about five or six home runs tonight and let Randy Levin sweat over you reaching 700 home runs despite his best efforts to keep you from it. 

Joe Girardi Should Be Fired on the Spot!

You know I’ve been one of the bigger Joe Girardi supporters since taking over for Joe Torre as the manager of the New York Yankees, although that doesn’t mean I haven’t reamed him a new one just like anyone else at times, but I have to say I am a tad bit disappointed in him lately. Maybe disappointed isn’t the word, maybe disgusted? I really don’t know and it’s odd for me to be speechless as you all may already know and I think I’m so beyond angry and frustrated that I don’t even want to rant and rave about it. I just want him fired, effective immediately. 

Alex is not the poster child for Major League Baseball like Derek Jeter was or Mariano Rivera was but he in no way, shape or form deserves this level of treatment from the Yankees and from Joe specifically. Joe fills out the lineup card and Joe either has it out for Alex, he’s managing for his job or both because in the grand scheme of things these games are meaningless. The message you sent to a long time Yankee and any potential free agent that is watching this and wondering if he should come to New York is the exact opposite of meaningless, it’s everything. 

Not that the Yankees tend to get into the deep end of the free agent pool lately, and not that money isn’t the ultimate motivator for many anyway, but if I am a Bryce Harper or a Manny Machado or an equivalent free agent that had any inkling of an idea that I wanted to come to New York this whole circus and the way Alex is being treated has to leave a sour taste in your mouth, no? It’s leaving a sour taste in my mouth and I’m just a regular guy with a blog so imagine what other players are thinking right about now. 

Joe Girardi has gone on record many times saying that it is not in his job description to run a farewell tour yet he had no issues doing so for Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera. Now granted Rivera went out still pitching like the great arm that he was but Jeter was a far cry from the 2012 version of himself when he finally walked away. He was an automatic double play ball almost every time he had someone on base and yet he continually batted second each and every game. And yeah, Joe said the same things about the farewell tour but what Joe said and what Joe did were two different things. This time around with Alex it almost seems personal and that, Mr. Girardi, isn’t in your job description either. Your job description includes winning games and if you think throwing Aaron Hicks out there every day while Alex sits on the bench just a handful of home runs away from 700 then you should just turn in your uniform and your iPad binder now. You’re fired. 

You’re a disgrace Joe and you don’t deserve to wear the Yankees pinstripes any longer. Be gone. Oh and Randy Levine, who undoubtedly at least threw his opinion into the mix because it is no secret that he and Alex are not exactly fond of each other, get a haircut and be gone as well. We don’t want you and we, you know the fans paying your salary and Joe’s salary and Alex’s salary and everyone else’s damn salary, don’t need you either. Goodbye. 

Meet a Prospect: Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez, contrary to popular belief, was not always the guy that was questioned whether or not he could hit in a big spot or in the playoffs. Believe it or not Alex Rodriguez was not always nicknamed A-Rod or Aroid or surrounded by steroid clouds or the New York media. Alex Rodriguez was not always the next guy to pass all the top home run hitters of all time and Alex Rodriguez did not always have an AAV of $30 million bucks a season. Believe it or not Alex Rodriguez used to be a quiet and humble kid who just wanted to play baseball. Let us meet him, ladies and gentlemen, Alex Rodriguez.

Alex Emmanuel Rodriguez was born on July 27th, 1975 in Washington Heights, New York. Alex, born to two Dominican parents, moved back to the Dominican Republic when he was four years old. When he moved back to the states him and his family moved to Miami, Florida where he gained an appreciate for guys like Cal Ripken , Keith Hernandez, and Dale Murphy and grew up with the New York Yankees Mets as his favorite baseball team. 

Alex went to Miami's Westminster Christian High School where he became the start shortstop for the school. In 100 games there he batted .419 with 90 steals en-route to winning the high school national championship in his junior year. He was first team prep All American as a senior, hitting .505 with 9 home runs, 36 RBI, 35 steals in 35 attempts all in 33 games. He was selected as the USA Baseball Junior Player of the Year and Gatorade's national baseball student athlete of the year as well that season as a senior. Rodriguez was the first high school player to try out for the Team USA Olympic Baseball team in 1993 and was quickly donned with the title of top prospect in the country.  After high school he signed a letter of intent to play baseball for the University of Miami, who also recruited him to play quarterback for their football team. Alex surprisingly turned down the baseball scholarship and never played college baseball, instead signing with the Seattle Mariners after being drafted in the first round of the MLB First Year Players draft at the ripe old age of 17 years old. 

Alex, after being drafted first overall in the 1993 draft, was already playing for Seattle's AAA team in 1994. He played 32 games and had 37 hits, for a .311 batting average, in 119 at bats while knocking in 6 home runs and 21 RBI. He made it all the way to the majors by July of the 1994 season, being the starting short stop on July 8th against the Boston Red Sox at 18 years old. Alex's rookie season was obviously cut short that season due to the shortened strike season by the MLB Player's Association and the league. Rodriguez split time between the big club and AAA in 1995 before joining the Mariners permanently in August where he got his first taste of the post season while still being the youngest player in Major League Baseball.  His first full season, 1996, was easily considered his break out season as he hit 36 home runs with 123 RBI while leading the American League with a .358 batting average, the highest BA for a right handed hitter, since Joe DiMaggio hit .381 in 1939. He was also the first major leaguer to win the batting title at short stop since 1960, the first in the AL since 1944... All at 20 years old. Obviously he made the All Star team that season while leading the AL in runs, total bases, and doubles while within striking distance of the hits (2nd), extra base hits (2nd), multi-hit games (3rd), slugging % (4th), RBI (8th), and On Base Percentage (8th). He set the highest totals ever for a short stop in runs, hits, doubles, extra base hits, and slugging while tying for most total bases and set Seattle Mariners records for average, runs, hits, doubles, and total bases. Some say that this is still the best season ever by a short stop. He was named the Sporting News and Associate Press Major League Player of the Year and came in 2nd place, three points back, in the MVP vote to Texas all-star Juan Gonzalez. After a "down year" in 1997, that included an all-star appearance by being voted in ahead of Cap Ripken Jr, he rebounded in 1998 setting the AL record for home runs by a SS and becoming the third member of the 40-40 club with 42 home runs and 46 stolen bases. He was the Players Choice AL Player of the Year that season, won his 2nd Silver Slugger Award, and finished in the top 10 in the MVP Voting. Following an amazing season he hit another 42 home runs in 1999 even though he missed over 30 games with an injury. 2000 was his final season with Seattle, even though he was the guy that they were building around after trading away guys like Randy Johnson and Ken Griffey Jr to keep him. Even though he had a great season and even hit well in the playoffs the Mariners lost to the Yankees in the 2000 ALCS. He was selected as the Major League Player of the Year award by Baseball America and finished 3rd in the Baseball Writers Association of America AL MVP voting.

Alex signed the most lucrative and expensive contract in all of baseball after that 2000 season, signing with the Texas Rangers for a record 10 years and $252 million dollars. A Texas Rangers team that finished last in the division in 2000 signed Alex to a contract $63 million more than the highest contract ever given out to date.  In an article written years later in the Daily News Alex said he regretted signing with the Rangers and instead wanted to sign with the New York Mets. Rather than following his heart though he listened to, then agent, Scott Boras and followed the money.  He did make the best of his time in Texas though, hitting 52 home runs and 133 runs scored with 393 total bases in his first season as starting SS for Texas. He followed that up with a major league best 57 home runs with 142 RBI with 389 total bases in 2002. He won the Babe Ruth Home Run Award for leading the MLB in home runs and win his first Gold Glove Award that season for his outstanding defense. Despite 109 home runs in those two seasons the Rangers finished in last place in the AL West both seasons. The Rangers losses are probably what cost Alex the MVP Award in 2002, as he finished second to Miguel Tejada's 103 win Oakland A's who won that AL West that season. 2003 would be his last season as a Ranger, but it may have been his best if that is possible. Alex won the MVP award , finally, while leading the AL in home runs, runs scored , and slugging &. He also won his second straight Gold Glove Award and Babe Ruth Home Run Award while becoming the youngest player to 300 home runs. 

After that 2003 season the Rangers, who were going nowhere with Alex, decided they had to move his expensive contract. Initially Alex was traded to the Boston Red Sox that off season but the MLB Players Association vetoed the deal because it called for voluntary reduction in salary. After the Rangers named him the Team Captain for the team for the 2004 season they quickly traded him to the New York Yankees for Alfonso Soriano and a player to be named later. The Rangers agreed to pay $67 million of the $179 million remaining on the contract, dependent on Alex agreeing to switch to 3B. Alex also had to switch uniform numbers because he wore #3 in Texas and Seattle, retired number of Babe Ruth. 

Alex has been the exact definition of an up and down career while he has been with the Yankees. After an average Alex Rodriguez season in 2004, which included yet another All Star Game appearance, and a fight with Boston catcher and Captain Jason Varitek the Yankees made the playoffs. Alex absolutely destroyed the Twins in his first post season appearance as a Yankee, batting .421 while slugging .737 with two key extra inning hits. The 2004 ALCS that no one will ever began was set, the Yankees vs the Red Sox. Alex started the series continuing to crush the ball, equally a single game post season record with five runs scored in Game 3 in Fenway. While we will never forget the Red Sox's 3-0 epic come back and breaking the "Curse of the Bambino" while winning the World Series I wonder how many of you forgot about in this series when Alex swatted the ball out of Bronson Arroyo's glove after rolling a ground ball to the pitcher's mound. I certainly have not forgotten. 2005 marked his first ever MVP award as a Yankee when he drove in 48 home runs and 130 RBIs, becoming the first Yankee to win the award since Reggie Jackson in 1980. He also hit three home runs off of future teammate, and then Angels pitcher, Bartolo Colon while driving in 10 runs in one single game.  2006 was yet another All Star Game appearance for Alex while compiling his 2000th hit and playing for Team USA in the inaugural World Baseball Classic. 2007 season was yet another MVP award for Alex, and had him hitting his 500th career home run against Kyle Davies and the Kansas City Royals. 

After the 2007 season all the talk was Alex Rodriguez and his opportunity, written into his contract that he signed with the Rangers, to opt out of his contract following the World Series. He did not wait until the World Series was over though as he announced that he would indeed be opting out of his contract but stated that he would like to be a Yankee for the rest of his career. In November of 2007 the Yankees agreed to re-sign Alex on yet another 10 year deal, this time worth $275 million with various incentives for breaking career home run milestones. This contract would take Alex through his age 42 season with the Yanks and could go as high as $320 million bucks. 

Alex Rodriguez was actually the first player to have a home run call disputed with Instant Replay when he hit his 549th home run against the Tampa Bay Rays. The play was upheld by the umpires and the home run was in the books.  Prior to the 2009 season A Rod had a torn labrum in his right hip and had an arthroscopic procedure that kept him out through the first month of the season. He hit a three run home run on the first pitch he saw that season, against the Baltimore Orioles, and helped the Yankees get back on track after starting the 2009 season with a 13-15 record.  We are all Yankees fans so we know about the heroics against the Twins, the Angels, and the Phillies in the World Series en route to the Yankees 27th World Championship. Clutch Rod was born. 

I do not want to touch on the whole steroid scandal too much because everyone, Yankees fan or not, knows what happened. Actually the only reason that I wanted to post anything about it was because of the picture below that I thought was too good to pass up. In 2007 Jose Canseco planned to publish a book about Major League Baseball and its steroid use, including dirt on Alex Rodriguez. Some of the dirt, besides steroid use, was that he was a hypocrite, gay, and a "loser". Alex Rodriguez denied all accusations in a 2007 interview with Katie Couric. Although he denied it only 2 years prior in 2009 it was reported by Selena Roberts that Alex failed a steroid test, testing positive for two anabolic steroids, testosterone, and Primobolan during his 2003 season while playing for Texas. He tested positive for the same steroid that Barry Bonds supposedly tested positive for in 2000 and 2001. So much for that anonymous testing and such huh Bud Selig? Alex later admitted to taking steroids in 2001 - 2003 after an "enormous amount of pressure to perform" after signing that record breaking contract in Texas. He claimed that he never took a steroid while in New York, but he did not mention his seasons in Seattle. He later became the spokesperson for the Taylor Hooton Foundation, which educated young people about the dangers of steroid use and has spoken at schools about the dangers of steroids. 

The 2010 - 2015 season were up and down for Rodriguez. The stat lines were there until a second hip injury and a second steroid allegation cost him much of the 2013 and 2014 seasons but Alex was back and in a big way in 2015. Alex had a resurgent 2015 campaign putting his name back on the map in Major League Baseball but his body faded down the stretch and so did his stats. Alex was not able to pick it back up in 2016 leading to a benching and the eventual announcement of his impending retirement effective in about nine more hours. We're going to miss to Alex. 

Alex grew up with two half siblings, Joe and Suzy, who were born in the Dominican Republic from his mother’s first marriage. Alex also has a half-brother, Victor, who is from his father’s first marriage.  Victor is an officer in the United States Air Force. Alex himself has two children, Natasha Alexander and Ella Alexander, with his now ex-wife Cynthia Scurtis, who he met in a gym in Miami, Florida.  In July of 2008 Alex and Cynthia separated and divorce papers were filed among rumors of Alex and Madonna having an affair. Madonna was one of Alex's many women to be on his arm since his divorce including, but not limited to, Kate Hudson, Cameron Diaz, and current girlfriend former WWE Diva Torri Wilson. Not too bad for a guy that owns a Mercedes Benz dealership in League City Texas, has good friends like Derek Jeter and collects art in his free time. 

Enjoy retirement and your new gig with the club Alex. Congratulations and thank you… for everything. This has been Meet a Prospect: The Alex Rodriguez Edition. 

Alex Rodriguez’s Final Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays 8/12

Here we go Yankees family. In a little over seven hours the first pitch will be thrown in the final game of Alex Rodriguez’s long, illustrious and tumultuous career. It’s only fitting that Alex retire with his final game coming in the Bronx but it begs the question, could he not have waited until tomorrow? I mean he has worn #13 since joining the Yankees back in 2004 and tomorrow is the 13th but I doubt he put that much thought and effort into it. I’m a numbers guy so I did. Anyway tonight the Yankees will begin a series with the Tampa Bay Rays with Chris Archer taking the mound to face Alex and the bombers. Opposing Archer for the Yankees will be CC Sabathia. I know Alex is far from Derek Jeter, and in some ways and in some circles that may be a good thing, but you have to think he does something tonight, right? Hits a home run, drives in the game-winning RBI, something. I can’t see our last image of Alex Rodriguez being a four strikeout game and being pinch hit or pinch run for late in the game. Wishful thinking maybe, I don’t know.

Sabathia has hit a skid lately after starting off the season so well which is evident by the fact that the veteran lefty has logged just one victory in his last nine starts. During that time period Sabathia has posted a 1-5 record with a 6.62 ERA and in the two starts in that span that came in the month of August Sabathia has yet to make it out of the sixth inning. All that mixed with the fact that he is facing off against Chris Archer could make this a long game tonight for New York and their fans.

Archer heads into this start fresh off a victory over the Minnesota Twins last time out where he threw six quality innings for the Rays. In Archer’s last five starts he has lasted at least seven innings in three of them despite leading Major League Baseball in losses with 15. That’s definitely more a product of the offense and defense behind him though and less to do with the fact that Archer just hasn’t pitched all that well.

The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on the YES Network, FOX and MLB TV. Alex has had 15 at bats against Archer in his career heading into tonight’s contest and has just two hits and three RBI against the Rays ace, both of those hits were home runs though. His stats against Archer are not impressive to be fair, a .133 batting average against the righty is evidence of that, but to be fair who has hit Archer well in their careers? Probably not many. One last time Mr. Rodriguez, leave it all out on the field. The fans will appreciate it and so will the team. One last time. Go Yankees!

The Alex Rodriguez Career Timeline

Alex Rodriguez. What more can be said by us that hasn’t already been said a million times throughout his career and especially over the last week. With Alex retiring rather than harping on one thing here or one thing there why don’t we just bring you his entire career timeline and let us battle it all out in the comments section or on Twitter? Sounds like a good idea to me so here we go, the Alex Rodriguez career timeline.

-          Alex was drafted first overall by the Seattle Mariners on June 3, 1993 and decides to sign rather than attend the University of Miami on a full baseball scholarship.

-          Alex was not long for the minor leagues as he made his MLB debut on July 8, 1994 at shortstop against the Boston Red Sox inside Fenway Park. He was 18-years old. The very next day he would record his first hit finishing the game 2-for-4.

-          It would take almost a full calendar year before Alex recorded his first home run and it came on June 12, 1995 against Kansas City Royals hurler Tom Gordon. It would another two calendar year’s later that Alex recorded his first ever cycle on June 5, 1997. Alex was the fifth youngest to ever do it and he did so at the expense of the Detroit Tigers.

-          Alex went from fan favorite to villain on Dec, 11 2000 after leaving Seattle via free agency for the Texas Rangers on a 10-year deal worth $252 million. This is easily the largest contract at the time in all of professional sports.

-          Four years later he went from being hated to being reviled after accepting a trade to the New York Yankees on February 16, 2004 for Alfonso Soriano and a player to be named later. Texas agreed to pay $67 million of the $179 million still remaining on his contract thus beginning his Yankees tenure.

-          On April 26, 2005 Alex Rodriguez went off on Bartolo Colon and the Los Angeles Angels to the tune of three home runs and 10 RBI in a single game. A Rod also joined the 400 home run club on June 8th and won his second AL MVP Award in November after slugging 48 home runs.

-          On August 4, 2007 Alex joins the 500 home run club against the Kansas City Royals. Alex is the youngest member to do so and only the 22nd in MLB history. Alex would win his third AL MVP in 2007 after slugging 54 home runs and knocking in 156 RBI but not before opting out of his deal during the World Series leaving $72 million on the table. Alex would sign a new deal with the Yankees on Dec, 17 2007 worth $275 million over 10 years just a day after going on 60 Minutes and telling the world that he has never used steroids or human growth hormones. The Mitchell Report, which was released on December 13, says otherwise.

-          Bombshell. On February 7, 2009 Sports Illustrated announced that Alex had tested positive for steroids back in 2003 and days later Rodriguez admitted it on national television while being interviewed by Peter Gammons. Alex was out with a hip injury at the time and would miss the beginning of the 2009 regular season.

-          Alex broke out in a big way in 2009 during the postseason including his Game 2 game-tying home run in the ninth inning against Minnesota Twins closer Joe Nathan eventually giving the Yankees a victory. In 15 playoff games that postseason Alex hit .365 with six home runs and 18 RBI leading the Yankees to the World Series.

-          Another year, another drug scandal for Alex. This time it came on February 28, 2010 when Alex was linked to Tony Galea, a Canadian doctor facing charges for smuggling drugs into the United States, according to the New York Daily News. No charges were filed and no suspensions were levied. Later that season Alex joined the 600 home run club on August 4th joining six other players to do so.

-          On December 3, 2012 it was announced that Alex would have to have his other hip surgically repaired and he did not return to the field until well into the 2013 season. He did not return before Jun 4, 2013 when ESPN broke the news that 20 players were linked to an anti-aging clinic down in Florida known as Biogenesis. Alex was one of those players, of course he was. On August 5th of that year it was announced that Rodriguez would be suspended 211 games, Alex immediately appealed and continued to play in the next Yankees game.

-          A few nights later on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball the Boston Red Sox starter Ryan Dempster intentionally threw behind and at Alex four different times before Alex got his revenge hitting a home run off the Boston righty later in the contest. Alex mocked David Ortiz’s home run trot and pose at home plate rubbing salt in the wound.

-          On September 20, 2013 Alex set a Major League record when he broke a tie with Yankees great Lou Gehrig when he hit his 24th grand slam of his MLB career.

-          2015 was Alex’s last hurrah as he not only recorded his 3000th hit on June 19, a solo home run off Justin Verlander, but he also hit his 660th and 661st home runs of his MLB career tying and eventually passing Willie Mays on the all-time home run list.

-          2016 was a different season and has been a different story for the Yankees DH though and on August 7th, 2016 he announced that today, August 12th, would be his final game in his MLB career after 22 MLB seasons. Alex finishes his career just a few home runs away from 700 home runs in his career.

There were so many more things and events that I could have touched on but there was just not enough time in the day and enough space on the blog. That’s how you know you’ve put up great stats and had a great career. It’s had its ups and downs and boy was it full of controversy for a long, long time but time heals all and time can begin the healing process now. Alex is done. Career over. Alex wins. 

Weekly Prospects Check In: Jorge Mateo & Alex Rodriguez

As the New York Yankees say hello to a plethora of prospects over the next couple of months and years the bittersweet reality is they will have to say goodbye to a few as well. It’s simple mathematics. You only have 40 available roster spots and 25 active roster spots and when you want to call up one of your top prospects, Aaron Judge, Tyler Austin or today’s showcase check in Jorge Mateo for example, you have to let a few go in order to accommodate. Today the Yankees say goodbye to Alex Rodriguez as he rides off into the sunset leaving his playing career behind so possibly the Yankees can welcome someone in his place.

So let’s get nostalgic with the past and bring you Alex Rodriguez’s career stats as they stand today:
22 Yrs 2782 12199 2021 3114 547 696 2084 329 1338 2285 .295 .380 .550 .930 140
And let’s bring you something to look forward to with the stats of Jorge Mateo:
This is going to be an emotional night for many but maybe none more than me. I love Alex and I mean that. I loved him in Seattle, loved him in Texas, loved him after his interview with Peter gammons admitting steroid use, loved him after he slapped the glove of a Boston Red Sox player, loved him after Biogenesis and loved him even after he opted out of his contract during the World Series. I’m going to miss him and by the end of the day I think you’ll fully realize that.

This is Alex Rodriguez Day here on the blog. Everyone stand up. 

This Day In New York Yankees History 8/12: Happy Alex Rodriguez Day

No matter what happened before, what happens today and what happens years from now today is and will be known as Alex Rodriguez Day here on the blog. Say what you will about Alex, and I have said plenty both in favor of and against, but his tenure is New York is pretty much unmatched by most and today that playing career comes to an end. So Happy Alex Rodriguez Day Yankees family. Enjoy him one last time and let's embrace him tonight in the Bronx. He's earned it.

The best Yankees pitcher that gets little to no recognition and respect is Mel Stottlemyre and he made his major league debut way back when on this day in 1964 and got a little help from the Yankees All Star Mickey Mantle. Mantle would hit a home run from both sides of the plate 10 times in his career setting a new major league record.

Finally on this day in 1927 the Yankees acquired infielders Lyn Lary and Jimmie Reese from the PCL's Oakland Oaks for $125,000. Reese will immediately becomes Babe Ruth's roommate and be best known for his quote that he was "roomed with Ruth's suitcase."