Tagged: Cameron Diaz

A-Rod’s Claim About Yankees, MLB Way Off Base

When it comes to the New York Yankees it seems the team is always thrown into a negative light every time something awful surfaces about Alex Rodriguez.

The latest flap about Rodriguez concerns a report from the Miami New Times that Rodriguez’s name – along with five other major-league players – was found among documents obtained from an anti-aging clinic called Biogenesis. Those six players were accused of taking performance-enhancing drugs from the clinic run by Anthony Bosch.

Not to be outdone by a small potatoes newspaper, Sports Illustrated managed to uncover additional documents that linked Rodriguez to 19 drugs and supplements, including several banned substances.

Major League Baseball met with the editors of the Miami New Times on Monday to gain access to the documents they uncovered in their investigation.

Rodriguez, for his part, has vehemently denied the allegations through a spokesman and claims he never was treated or advised by Bosch.

But probably the most telling comment from Rodriguez was published in the New York Daily News saying that Rodriguez is fearful that his own team and Major League Baseball are conspiring to end his baseball career, sources said.

If, in fact, this is a statement coming from Rodriguez it shows a lot about how he thinks of himself as a victim and never in terms of someone who is potentially hurting a franchise and a very popular brand like the Yankees.

A-Rod has failed to complete a full healthy season with the Yankees since his 2007 MVP season when he hit 54 home runs, drove in 156 runs and batted .314. During spring training 2009, he admitted – after a SI report surfaced – that he took PEDs while he was a member of the Texas Rangers through the 2003 season.

He very pointedly said that he taken not PEDs since 2003.

Because the rules regarding steroids had not been implemented prior to the 2004 season, Major League Baseball was prohibited from imposing a suspension on Rodriguez since they had no positive drug test from him past that point.

In the meantime, Rodriguez has been plagued by a series of injuries (a right hip that required surgery, a knee, a finger, a hand) that kept him on the disabled list over the past four seasons.

After another disastrous postseason in which Rodriguez hit .120 with 12 strikeouts in 25 at-bats and that forced manager Joe Girardi to pinch-hit for him on a few occasions, it was revealed he was suffering from a congenital left hip problem that would require surgery and shelve him for at least half of the 2013 season.

Because the Yankees are on the hook to pay A-Rod $114,000,000 through the 2017 season, the Yankees are very much concerned about their investment in a player who is 37 years old, is declining markedly in production, is mostly unavailable to play and perhaps again could have been dabbling with PEDs.

But the odds of Yankees deliberately smearing Rodriguez’s name or possibly being complicit in a scheme to get him out of baseball seems implausible.

If anything the Yankees have bent over backwards to support their controversial third baseman. They have never publicly commented about his past transgressions or embarrassed him in anyway.

Rodriguez has a way of doing that just fine on his own:

(1) His stupid comments belittling Derek Jeter during a magazine interview.

(2) Being caught walking the streets of Toronto with a woman who was not his wife and who turned out to be an exotic dancer.

(3) His divorce and his subsequent dalliances with Kate Hudson, Cameron Diaz and a former WWE wrestler and model.

It is extremely doubtful that Major League Baseball or the Yankees would risk the discovery of fraudulent documents in order to keep Rodriguez from ever playing baseball again.

In addition, teammates such as Mariano Rivera and Mark Teixeira have recently issued statements of support of Rodriguez. If the Yankees were “against” A-Rod wouldn’t they issue edicts to the players not to comment at all?

If it turns out that Rodriguez did use PEDs again with the help of his Bosch fellow than I would be very offended if I was accused of being part of a conspiracy against him. So I would think the Yankees would have every right to look at Rodriguez’s contract in an effort to void it.

The Yankees were unable to do so when they looked at Jason Giambi’s contract in 2004. I doubt seriously they would have much luck now with A-Rod’s.

MLB rules call for a first-time suspension of 50 games if A-Rod is judged to be guilty of what he is accused. He would not be paid, which would cost him about $8 million but the Yankees would still be obligated to honor his contract.

The Yankees could release him and just eat the contract, however, the Yankees would not receive any relief regarding their overall payroll or the luxury tax.

About the only way the Yankees could get out of the deal would be for A-Rod to retire, which would then forfeit the remainder of his contract and what he is owed. But that is about as likely as fans at Fenway Park giving Rodriguez a standing ovation.

So the Yankees are forced to live under a hanging cloud throughout the 2013 season. Rodriguez is rehabbing from his January hip surgery and is hoping to return sometime after the All-Star break.

There is a possibility that Rodriguez may not be quite ready to resume baseball activities then and he could miss the entire season.

In the meantime, MLB will continue to investigate Rodriguez and the other players named in the published reports. They could suspend Rodriguez at any time over the next several months.

However, Rodriguez’s suspension would not take effect until he is pronounced fit to play. That means the 50-game suspension could be imposed to start at the beginning of the 2014 season if A-Rod is out for the 2013 season.

That means the Yankees would have lost A-Rod for a total of 212 games. They would have to pay him for 162 of them despite the fact they were getting nothing from him. In addition, a suspension would leave the team with yet another stain on it – a stain Rodriguez would leave on it as long as he wears the pinstripes.

The Yankees could possibly look to unload their rapidly aging former superstar but that route would mean not getting a comparable value in return because A-Rod’s value is about half of what it was in 2007.

There also would have to be a stipulation in the deal that the Yankees would be obligated to continue to pay some portion if not most of his salary. After all, the Yankees had to do that to unload A.J. Burnett last spring.

I hate to be bearer of such depressing news but the Yankees made a terrible mistake in signing Rodriguez to that 10-year contract five years ago after his agent Scott Boras goaded Rodriguez into opting out of his contract and cost the Yankees about $9 million the Texas Rangers were paying him.

Instead, Rodriguez came to the Yankees with is tail between his legs begging the Yankees to sign him without Boras around. The Yankees have received very little from Rodriguez since then and the next five seasons are not looking much brighter.

The fact is Alex Rodriguez and his bloated contract is an albatross that will be hanging around the Yankees’ necks for many years to come.

 

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Hip Check: Yankees’ 2011 Hopes Ride On A-Rod’s Health

As training camp opens in Tampa, FL, the New York Yankees are looking to return to their 2009 form. We will take a look at each position and see how they stack up for the 2011 season. Just how good are the Yankees? Let’s find out:
THIRD BASE

This is, by far, the toughest analysis I will have to write this spring. The reason is because the Alex Rodriquez baseball has known is but a shadow of the post-hip surgery version.
For the past two seasons, Rodriguez has reached at least 30 home runs and 100 RBIs, which is something he has done for 13 straight seasons. However, his home run frequency is dropping, in addition to his batting average and his runs scored.
In his first five seasons with the Yankees, A-Rod averaged 119 runs, 42 home runs and 123 RBIs and batted .303. In his last two seasons, hampered by the hip injury, Rodriguez has scored an average of 76 runs with 30 home runs, 112 RBIs and he hit .277.
Rodriguez also averaged 21 stolen bases from 2004 to 2008. In the past two seasons he has averaged nine. Last season, he stole a career low of four.
Clearly, at age 35 and restricted by the hip injury, Rodriguez is not the same player he was. The question is can he still be good enough to lead the Yankees offense in 2011 to its 28th world championship?
His 125 RBIs last season suggest he can. 
Though Yankee fans would love to see a repeat of his 2007 season where he hit 54 home runs and drove in 156 runs, they may have to be satisfied with the 42 home runs and 123 RBIs he averaged between 2004 and 2008 with fewer runs scored, fewer stolen bases and a lot lower batting average.
He also will play a lot fewer games. In 2009, Rodriguez missed the first month of the season and played in only 124 games. In 2010, Rodriguez spent three weeks on the disabled list with a calf injury and missed additional time with an unrelated hip injury and played in only 137 games.
In the field, Rodriguez committed only seven errors in 122 starts at third. Though Rodriguez is still able to field the balls he can reach, his range has been hindered by the hip injury. His lateral movement is still stiff and he is a step slow on coming in slow rollers and bunts.
But Rodriguez is still above average at the position with his cannon right arm and he is part of an infield that boasts Gold Glove recipients at every position. Rodriguez won two Gold Gloves as a shortstop before he joined the Yankees.
Manager Joe Girardi has already said he will have to monitor Rodriguez closely and make sure he gets plenty of rest throughout the season. With Jorge Posada expected to be a full-time DH, it stands to reason Rodriguez won’t be used much as a DH.
So it looks like the days off he will get mostly will be full days off. As a result, it is hard to expect Rodriguez to hit the huge numbers of home runs he needs to overtake Barry Bonds as the all-time home run leader.
He has 613 career home runs and he needs 150 more to pass Bonds. If he averages 35 home runs in the next five seasons he could pass Bonds easily. But if he averages 30 or less he may require six seasons to do it. It is obvious the hip injury has put in wrinkle in A-Rod’s hopes.
When Rodriguez was out of the lineup last season, Ramiro Pena started 27 games in his place. Though Pena fielded the position adequately, his batting average fell from .287 in 2009 to .227 in 2010.
This spring Pena, 25, faces a tough challenge from Eduardo Nunez, who started 10 games at third base late last season. Though Nunez is not as slick a fielder as Pena, he does have good range and he hit .280 in 50 at-bats and he stole five bases.
With the Yankees expected to rest both Rodriguez and shortstop Derek Jeter more this season, the Yankees might want to look at using the 23-year-old Nunez rather than Pena because of his superior athleticism, better bat and speed.
It will one of the more intriguing battles of camp.
Another possibility is among the Yankees’ non-roster invitees: Eric Chavez. At 33, Chavez is trying to resurrect his career after severe back and neck injuries have limited him to only 64 games the past three seasons.
Chavez is a six-time Gold Glove winner at third base for the Oakland Athletics and averaged 30 home runs and 98 RBIs from 2001 to 2005. He is coming to camp hoping to make the team as a reserve corner infielder.
If he and outfielder Andruw Jomes make the team, the Yankees will have seven Gold Glove winners on the roster. But Chavez could be of great help as a hitter off the bench. He only needs to prove he can still hit and, more importantly, he is healthy.
The Yankees also have a young power-hitting third baseman in the minor leagues.
He is Brandon Laird and he is coming off a season in which he hit 25 home runs and drove in 102 runs in 131 games between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He just needs to work a bit more on making contact.
At Trenton he hit a sizzling .291 but his average at Scranton was .246 and he hit a meager .236 in the Arizona Fall League.
But the 23-year-old brother of major-league catcher Gerald Laird is not far from being ready for the majors. With the Yankees that will be tough with Rodriguez around. The Yankees more likely are hoping Laird develops at Scranton this season.
He could emerge as an eventual backup to Rodriguez or he could be used in a trade general manager Brian Cashman may make to bolster the starting pitching. In either event, Laird bears watching as he develops in the minor leagues.
While actress Cameron Diaz may keep feeding her favorite player popcorn at the Super Bowl, the Yankees are hoping that A-Rod can feed a more potent offense this season for the Yankees. Jeter, Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira had poor 2010 seasons.
The Yankees are hoping the top part of the lineup rebounds in 2011 and Rodriguez is clearly the key to it all as the cleanup hitter. Doctors have said Rodriguez’s hip does not require any additional surgery so it just comes down to Rodriguez being able to produce under the limitations of the hip injury.
For the Yankees to have any hopes of becoming champions again, A-Rod’s season will determine if it happens.