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Will A-Rod break Barry Bonds' record?

Aug 4, 2010, 3:14 PM EDT

A-Rod has 600 homers. Does he have 163 more left in the tank?

Alex Rodriguez hit his 600th homer today. That’s well and good, but if the poll results are any indication you all don’t really care. But you will probably care more if and when he breaks 700 and starts knocking on the door of messers. Ruth, Aaron and Bonds.  Will it happen? Let’s break down some rough numbers:

  • A-Rod has 600 homers;
  • The record is 762;
  • A-Rod is under contract through 2017;
  • If he stays on his current pace for the rest of the reason, he’d finish with around 26 or 27 homers for 2010, putting him 152 or 153 homers shy of a new home run record.

Thus, Rodriguez would only have to average around 21-22 homers a year between now and the end of his deal to break the record. I find that eminently doable.

From 1996 — when he became a full time player — though 2009 he averaged 41.7 home runs per season. Those days are likely over now, but even if you assume that his production for 2008-2010 is the “new normal” for the guy, that puts him at around 30 homers a year, which puts him safely ahead of a record breaking pace. And that’s assuming he doesn’t pull out some late career mini-resurgence which gives him a random season of 40 here or there, which I could easily see happening.

Of course there’s nothing certain in this world.  Health being the biggest uncertainty. If A-Rod suffered a catastrophic injury all bets are off, but that’s the case for anyone chasing a record.  Just ask Ken Griffey Jr. what one’s late 30s are all about.

But A-Rod also, perversely enough, has his contract on his side. Being signed to that deal will give him more chances to come to the plate as he approaches the end of his career simply because there’s way less of a chance that teams will just turn their back on him like they did on Barry Bonds the year after he broke Aaron’s record.  Whether it’s the Yankees or some other team, the chances are very, very high that he’ll be on someone’s roster for the next seven years.

Sure, if A-Rod’s skills have eroded to a certain degree the Yankees — who will presumably remain competitive — may consider him a sunk cost and cut bait on him, but if that happens he becomes a very affordable gate attraction for the Orioles or the Athletics or any other team who needs a DH and some excitement. With the Yankees paying him $25 million regardless, Rodriguez would probably have no trouble signing with any other team for the veteran minimum, and if he gets his at bats, he should get his 21-22 home runs.

There are no guarantees in this world, but I’d feel pretty safe in betting that A-Rod will break Barry Bonds’ record one day.

  1. Kevin S. - Aug 4, 2010 at 5:11 PM

    No, because they actually lost those games. Just like A-Rod and company actually hit those home runs.

  2. RichardInBigD - Aug 4, 2010 at 5:14 PM

    I don’t usually do this, but I think I’m going to root for injury. It’s just the Karma train coming in to the station if it happens…

  3. Pete leary - Aug 4, 2010 at 5:26 PM

    ROIDS 600 is meaningless.He is nothing but a pumped up MORON who cheated his way to the big stage.Couldn’t hold Mays or Aarons jockstrap!

  4. SouthofHeaven - Aug 4, 2010 at 5:57 PM

    Whatever. Half the pitchers A-Rod faced juiced too. Everyone did it, get over it.

  5. Jake198 - Aug 4, 2010 at 6:34 PM

    Barry Bonds does not have a record. Alex will not either. The career home run record belongs to Henry Aaron. The single season home run record belongs to Roger Maris. (61 in 1961 using fewer at bats than Babe Ruth) Both of these record holders honored the spirtit and the rules of baseball. Both Bonds and Alex did not. As a life long Yankees fan, I remain a fan of A-Rod, and wish him only the best. As a true baseball fan, I recognize that you cannot reward intentional cheating. Both Barry and Alex did intentionaly cheat.

  6. KTD73 - Aug 4, 2010 at 7:41 PM

    One question that is impossible to answer at this point: what will the long-term effects be of whatever A-Rod took for however long he was taking it/them? Also, is he now finding it harder to train, recover from injuries, etc., because he is no longer using? And/or is he still adjusting to playing without artificial help? A number of players have seen their career fall off a cliff after stopping taking whatever was previously helping them. Just a few years ago, the possibility that A-Rod wouldn’t hit his 17th HR until the first week of August would have seemed unthinkable. At this point, I think it’s impossible to predict what will happen.
    And as for age . . . compare two all-time greats who were also teammates: Hank Aaron and Eddie Mathews. At age 35, they were virtually tied for career homers: Aaron had 510 and Mathews had 493. But after that, Mathews hit only 19 more. Aaron went on to hit an incredible 245 homers after the age of 35. Somehow, I don’t see that in A-Rod’s future.

  7. Md23Rewls - Aug 4, 2010 at 7:53 PM

    Considering baseball in almost all facets (commissioner, ownership, players, media) turned its head from steroids and pretended nothing was going on, how much can you really blame Rodriguez and Bonds for what they did? Technically they cheated the spirit of the game, I guess, but don’t underestimate the power of mass action. When you have everybody taking stuff and the atmosphere almost encourages usage, it’s understandable to some degree.
    For me, the bottom line is that in the 100+ year history of the game, seven players have hit 600 or more home runs. Three have hit 700 or more. Of all of the great players to play baseball, almost nobody’s reached those levels. If Rodriguez hits more home runs than Aaron, he’s going to deserve that record. And as much as I loathe Bonds, Bonds deserves that record, too. That Aaron did it without the same kind of chemical help (though who knows on amphetamines) makes what Aaron did that much more impressive. It’s akin to climbing Mount Everest with oxygen vs without. Either way, you’ve still climbed the highest mountain in the world.

  8. john pileggi - Aug 4, 2010 at 8:14 PM

    He will break the record and do it at an age and pace that will make those wondering about PED figure that they added “xx” homers to his total and backing them out will still make him the record holder. Now, can we not talk about it for about 4 or 5 years?

  9. Kevin S. - Aug 4, 2010 at 8:18 PM

    It’s not “who knows?” – he admitted it. He used an illegal, performance-enhancing drug. One that might even perhaps enhance performance more than anabolic steroids by keeping him on the field.

  10. TominNH - Aug 4, 2010 at 8:30 PM

    A-Roid’s game is already falling off!!! How would YOU like to be paying a player $26M per year who isnt in th top 10 of any offensive category???? And there’s what……… 5-6 more years to go on the contract?? My only happiness is that it’s the Yankees—– and they are the Evil Empire—– plus….. YANKEES SUCK!!!
    Boston fan! :)))))))))))))

  11. Ditto65 - Aug 4, 2010 at 9:09 PM

    And the punishment for using that substance when he used it? NOTHING!
    Baseball had no punishment for using PEDs when A-Rod tested positive.
    Don’t use, but we won’t stop you.
    Let it go.

  12. Kevin S. - Aug 4, 2010 at 9:24 PM

    I agree with you, on both counts. Just pointing out that Hank admitted to greenies. I’m not trying to denigrate him for it.

  13. Cleareye - Aug 4, 2010 at 10:02 PM

    He will break Bonds “record” of course but it won’t mean much. Let’s face it Ruth was the best. No one dominated baseball the way he did. No one ever will. He would have dominated if blacks were part of the game then too. There would be more players with 600 plus and some would have been with him yearly occasionally, but not lifetime.

  14. MusicLover - Aug 4, 2010 at 10:31 PM

    Congratulations to A-Rod for becoming the youngest steroid user to hit 600 home runs!
    Funny how all those New Yorkers who were hyper critical of Bonds are now TOTALLY on the A-Roid bandwagon. No surprise.

  15. Sweepthleg - Aug 5, 2010 at 12:37 AM

    Guess what I don’t care Hank Arron is still the home run king!
    If you don’t think steriods or HGH help athletes build more muscle, run faster, jump higher, get pumped up, increase aggression, and overall performance then you are an idoit! (I’ve cycled before in my life and it freaking works!)
    I might be able to stomach Arod as the home run king but Bonds is a walking joke! The guys head is the size of a beach ball! You can whine and moan about “there are no studies”, “we don’t know how long blah blah blah”, or “everyone else was on them” all you want it doesn’t matter. You ask me who the home run king is IT’S HAMMER’N HANK!
    So shut your steorid defending mouth also please know your role. Thank you and have a nice day :)

  16. AYFF - Aug 5, 2010 at 3:24 PM

    Ruth only had to face white pitchers in his era and never had to face the best pitchers that were not allowed in the league, never played on the west coast and never had to play a night game…Every era has there issue/quams. No different now.

  17. Materialman - Aug 6, 2010 at 10:20 AM

    Nobody cares about Stray-Rod’s or Bonds records. They are total BS. They mean nothing.

  18. Materialman - Aug 6, 2010 at 10:26 AM

    You don’t have the record when you cheat to break it. Bonds and A-Rods “so called records” mean nothing.

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