Tag Archives: Alex Rodriguez

A-Rod Bids A-Dieu

Stunning news hit the headlines of the New York Times this week. Three-time Most Valuable Player, Alex Rodriguez announced that he will hang up his cleats for the final time after Friday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays. Rodriguez is just four homeruns shy of 700 and ranks 4th for the most homeruns in MLB history. A-Rod’s storied career has been filled with endless amounts of drama, ranging from on the field brawls, to performance enhancing drug use. It is shocking that one of the most productive players for over 20 years would retire so abruptly. Nowadays, we are used to having the Derek Jeters, David Ortizes, and Kobe Bryants of the world announce that it will be their final season so he all the corny gifts and praise throughout the season. A-Rod is arguably the most talented player to ever play the game, so why did the Yankees ask him to no longer be an active player on their roster? Is it because he’s a pompous ass? Probably. But I also think it may be because the Yankees are a step ahead of the game and taking a page from one of their rivals.

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Following the game on Friday, Rodriguez will be released from the team and added as an advisor to the players. This means that A-Rod will still receive the $27 million that he has left on his contract which will count against the luxury-tax. So it seems like the Yankees aren’t gaining anything.

A-Rod’s deteriorating talent is allowing the Yankees to play younger players. Let’s look at the Red Sox of a few years ago. Their horrible 2014 and 2015 seasons allowed them to play Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley, and Xander Bogaerts on a daily basis. This most certainly helped develop them into the players they are today. If the Yankees decide to take this approach, it will allow them to develop their farm systems under the watchful eye of one of the best players of all time, A-Rod. At the ripe age of 18, A-Rod joined the MLB and has the experience to teach the young studs in the system to become productive players.

Though I do believe the Yankees had enough of A-Rod’s dramatics, the way they handled this situation works out for both parties. The Yankees are on a complete overhaul and have taken huge strides to become competitive again in the American League East. Look out for the Bronx Bombers come next year, they seem primed to make major moves during the offseason and have acquired young pieces to be talented for years to come.

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A beat-up Buchholz

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With the Red Sox signing David Price and having him be their ace for years to come, I think Boston just killed two birds with one stone.

1. They finally have someone who can anchor the staff for the first time since Jon Lester.

2. Clay Buchholz doesn’t have worry about being the number 1 in the rotation anymore.

When the 2015 season began, the Red Sox were in Philadelphia for Opening Day. Manager John Farrell chose Buchholz to be the Opening Day starter, hoping that he can stay healthy and be their ace all season. As Buchholz trotted to the mound in the bottom half of the first, I was already pleased with his performance because he didn’t pull a hammy on his way to the mound. Buchholz actually had everyone raising their eyebrows after he twirled 7 shutout innings, allowing 3 hits and one walk while the Red Sox gave him plenty of run support in the 8-0 victory over the Phillies. Sox fans thought that this was the year that Clay was ready to prove everyone wrong, stay healthy, and have people think that whenever he’s on the mound, his team his going to win.

You’ve got to remember that Clay’s stellar performance over the Phillies…was against the Phillies. Philadelphia has been in complete rebuild mode for the past 3 seasons ever since the Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, Roy Oswalt, and Cliff Lee era slowly disintegrated. Ever since trading away their core pieces that brought this organization so much success like middle infielders Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley, the only players that may put fans in the seats now is veteran slugger Ryan Howard and young outfielder Odubel Herrera, who hit just under .300 in 147 games. So with Buchholz pitching a gem against a JV lineup, fans should have waited to jump on the “Buchholz Bandwagon” and see how he did against actually contenders.

The 2015 season for the Boston Red Sox was a joke. The pitching was a joke and when the offense started off slow and couldn’t support the third worst rotation in the American League, you weren’t going to see the best results. But right before the All-Star break, the Sox won 4 straight heading into the last series vs. the first place New York Yankees. Boston was just 4.5 games out of first place at the time, so if they were able to take 2 games in the series or maybe sweep their arch rivals, they would have a lot of momentum going into the second half of the season. A red hot Clay Buchholz had won 4 straight outings and was getting the ball for the first game of the series. Fans were hoping he was ready to make the next step of being an ace by delivering a W in a big game like this.

A solo home run by Alex Rodriguez in the top of the first was just the beginning of this never-ending roller coaster. In the top of the fourth, Buchholz delivered an off speed pitch to former teammate, Stephen Drew. After the pitch, he told catcher Sandy Leon to come to the mound. As Leon jogged to the mound from home plate, John Farrell and the trainer began to follow, along with the infielders. As everyone was huddled up around Buchholz, Farrell then made a signal to the bullpen and just like that, his game was done. At the time, that was the biggest game of the season and the lights were all on Clay Buchholz. That was his chance to change people’s outlook on him and as usual, the injury bug got to him and he was placed on the 60-day DL with a right elbow strain, and ending his season.

Now throughout Buchholz’s career, there has always been one thing that has been his kryptonite and that is…well…anything, if you think about it. When I scrolling through Twitter one day, I came across something that really defined Clay Buchholz in a nutshell. It was a list of all the injuries he has sustained throughout his career. Now, some of you may think it’s silly to start a list of his past but when you look at these numbers, you come to wonder why the Red Sox still keep this guy around.

2008: 16 games missed with a right fingernail tear.

2010: 18 games with a left hamstring strain.

2011: 93 games with a lower back stress fracture.

2012: 20 games with esophagitis.

2013: 82 games with right shoulder bursitis.

2014: 28 games with a left knee hyperextension.

2015: 75 games with a right elbow strain.

If you add those games up, the total amount is 332 games missed over 7 trips to the disabled list. That’s over 2 seasons where Clay Buchholz has been on the DL throughout his 9 seasons in the MLB. And yet, the Red Sox will be paying him around 13 million dollars in 2016.

Now people always think of the 2013 season where he put up by far his best numbers. In the first half of the season, he went 9-0 with an ERA of 1.71. At the time, an obvious all-star and the front runner for the Cy Young award. But after suffering right shoulder bursitis and being shut down for a good chunk of the second half of the season, he was never the pitcher he was once before the All Star break.

With Price now being the obvious number 1 in the rotation for the Sox, 2-5 are still up in the air. With Buchholz, Rick Porcello, Eduardo Rodriguez, Henry Owens, and Joe Kelly fighting for those last 4 spots, you wonder if the Red Sox will ever stop looking at Buchholz as a top of the rotation pitcher and just make him a number 4 or 5 in the rotation.

People have to stop remembering what Buchholz once was and accept that he has already hit his peak. When he’s healthy, he can be one of the best pitchers in baseball. I just don’t think it is necessary to pay the guy that much money for a good month or two of pitching and then making his yearly trip to the DL. But that’s just my opinion.

Yankees acquire Aroldis Chapman

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When the legend Mariano Rivera hung up the cleats in 2013, there have been a lot of contestants trying to fill his role as the Yankees closer. But earlier this afternoon, the Yankees got their guy. Four time all star, Aroldis Chapman was traded from the Cincinnati Reds where he got 146 saves in the span of 6 seasons. Chapman doesn’t have the devastating cutter Rivera used to throw; in fact, Chapman is kind of like the opposite of Rivera.

The Yankees gave away 4 minor leaguers for the one of the most intimidating pitchers in the game…and that’s just an understatement. Batters try not to show fear as Chapman fires 100+ MPH fastballs on a regular pitch basis. The one thing that batters hate when they face him is that they don’t know where the ball is going…and sometimes neither does Chapman.

Earlier this month, the Los Angeles Dodgers made a deal with the Reds to send Chapman to the Blue Crew. But after Chapman was alleged to being involved in assaulting his girlfriend, the deal was called off. Knowing the Reds are in complete rebuild mode, they weren’t done trying to trade him, which caused the Yankees to give them a call, and the rest is history.

One question mark is if Chapman will be in uniform on Opening Day. His assault charges are in further investigation right now and if it doesn’t play out in Chapman’s favor, Yankee fans may not be seeing him close a game until later in the season.

But let’s say the charges are dropped and he is ready to go for Opening Day. You could arguably say that the Yankees have the best 1-2-3 punch coming out of the bullpen in all of baseball. With having Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller being the 7th and 8th inning guys before Chapman, you could say the chances for a comeback by the opposing team decreases dramatically. But who knows, with the signing of Chapman, Miller could be on the trade block. With the Yankees trying to get younger, an everyday outfielder or power hitter could be a good option for replacing a 38 year old Carlos Beltran and 40 year old Alex Rodriguez.

If Miller isn’t dealt anywhere this winter and the Yankees decide to have a 3-headed monster in the bullpen, all you have to tell your starting rotation is to give their team a quality start and the bullpen will finish the job. Not that hard, right? Maybe not for the Bronx Bombers. The Yankees finished 23rd last season in quality starts in all of baseball with 72. But with the offense finishing second in runs scored and picking up the team’s ERA being above 4, you can say that the lesser amount of quality starts won’t be a problem.

Another issue the Yankees COULD have with this deal is if that Chapman becomes a free agent next season. If Chapman has a break out year and another team offers him some big bucks, don’t be surprised if he decides to sign elsewhere. But knowing the Yankees and their history of big contracts, I don’t see there being another team getting in their way.

With this deal being done today, the Yankees made their case that they will be contending for the A.L. East crown just like everyone else. They and Boston’s bullpen seem to be equally dominant on paper. But no matter how good your team looks on paper, I, as a Red Sox fan, know that anything can happen when the season starts.