Thursday, October 11, 2012

Arod and a tale of when Ring Protection isn’t Enough

The media and Yankees fans alike have been up in arms since day one of playoffs, about where the Yankees star 3rd baseman should bat. The clamor has reached a fever pitch of late with Rodriquez seemingly reverting to bad post season habits and becoming the weak link in what is supposed to be a domineering lineup.

Rodriguez has gone 1 for 9 with 5 strikeouts in the ALDS vs the Baltimore Orioles. Those are pretty miserable numbers for someone who’s the 3-hole hitter, reserved for the team’s best bat who’s sole job is to drive in runs for those who’ve ‘set the table’ ahead of him. Arod’s role at 3rd in the batting order has hindered the Yankees as far as getting runners in scoring position home, deepening what was already a weak spot for the team.

The outcry for Arod to be dropped in the batting order have been fervent, and certainly with merit. Rodgriguez’s power has seemingly left him, he has gone 77 at bats without a home runs and finished up the regular season with just 17 for the season. The pressure was supposed be taken off Arod back in 2009 after the Yankees won their 27th world championship and Alex came through in clutch situation after clutch situation–his ring protection was earned.

Flash forward to now and it’s like 2009 was just a dream. The scrutiny is again on Arod, with folks wanting to go so far as to bench him in favor for Eduardo Nunez who’s a liability defense wise. The true crux to why for Arod even multiple ring protection may not even be enough is based mostly in the numbers–of his contract, that is. In the case for Lebron, and in the case of Arod winning once will not be enough, but at least for Lebron he’s got the luxury of not being over 30. Alex is 37 and is signed to his contract through 2017. In this season alone he stands to make $29 million dollars, and it leaves many expect him to truly earn every penny of it.

The ever reoccurring woes of Arod and the constant pressure hoisted on his shoulders to produce each off season will only intensify as the years go back. While it’s clear as day to see that Arod is not the Arod of old, he is still a viable player who needs to step his game up. So are fans wrong for calling for him to be dropped? No, but I then have to ask who else do the Yankees have to replace him with?

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Robert Littal
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