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The Yankees should hope that Tanaka is as disastrous as A-Rod

Feb 12, 2014, 8:37 AM EDT

You know you’ve reached peak A-Rod Derangement Syndrome when you use his experience with the Yankees as a warning sign. That’s what Joel Sherman does today at the New York Post. Here’s the tweet teasing the article:

And here’s the article. The upshot is just what the tweet implies: yes, everyone is happy on the day of the signing, but you never know what you’re going to get. With the “what you’re going to get” with A-Rod being painted as awful — the story literally says his example does not represent “success” — despite all the hope and promise his signing suggested back in 2004. Which is a pretty audacious level of revisionism.

What’s not in the article? Any mention that A-Rod led them to their last World Series title. That he won two MVP Awards in pinstripes. That in ten years with the Yankees he put up a line of .291/.386/.534 with 309 homers and 979 RBI, winning three Silver Slugger Awards. That during his tenure the Yankees won six division titles and won fewer than 90 games only twice (once when they won 89, once when he missed most of the season). That the Yankees were first in attendance every single year A-Rod played for them.

I’m not suggesting that A-Rod’s contract, financially speaking, ended up being the best deal. Nor am I suggesting the team-wide success and financial success of the franchise is attributable to A-Rod only. I am saying, however, that any suggestion that A-Rod was, in the aggregate, bad for the New York Yankees, takes a special kind of crazy and requires a special kind of denial of how good a baseball player and draw he was.

And, if Masahiro Tanaka is as successful with the Yankees as A-Rod was — if he wins a couple Cy Young Awards, routinely rates as one of the top pitchers in baseball and is part of a World Series champion — I don’t think that anyone would claim that the deal was a bad one like so many wish to do regarding A-Rod now.

  1. karlkolchak - Feb 12, 2014 at 8:43 AM

    “…everyone is happy on the day of the signing, but you never know what you’re going to get.”

    Isn’t that true of every free agent signing, ever? Thank YOU, Dr. Obvious (Sherman, I mean).

  2. stex52 - Feb 12, 2014 at 8:44 AM

    File that one under the general heading of “What have you done for me lately?” It’s easy to trash A-Rod; he’s pretty much a low-life. But it’s easy to forget the success.

    Was A-Rod cost effective? No. Is cost effectiveness an issue for the Yankees? Absolutely not. They have the resources to waste a lot of money and still have enough left to win those titles. Cost effectiveness is overrated in the MLB. Most teams have the resources to pay those huge contracts. And one World Series run pays for a lot of mistakes.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Feb 12, 2014 at 8:45 AM

      And actually, he was pretty cost effective for the first few years. The Rangers were paying a lot of that first deal. And they got value out of the first 2-3 years of the second big deal.

      • evanhartford - Feb 12, 2014 at 8:54 AM

        Craig, the problem is that “hindsight is 20/20″. Arod might have been great before the whole steriod debacle, but the steroid debacle has completely overshadowed his accomplishments.

        I’m sure there are a few delushional Giants fans that like to think of Barry Bonds as the GOAT, but the vast majority have moved on and prefer to think about the organizations more recent success without Bonds. Ask any Yankee fan about their fondest memories of being a Yankee fan and they’ll probably refer to 1996 – 2000. We don’t really talk about 2009 unless its in the context of having more championships than the Red Sox.

        I’d rather Tanaka be an average pitcher than him being an excellent pitcher before getting caught for steroids…

      • Craig Calcaterra - Feb 12, 2014 at 9:12 AM

        “the steroid debacle has completely overshadowed his accomplishments.”

        Ask any Yankees fan if they’d trade the 2009 World Series to make the A-Rod/PED stories go away.

      • Francisco (FC) - Feb 12, 2014 at 9:20 AM

        They have 27, A – Rod hate is such that they just might bite.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 12, 2014 at 9:26 AM

        Ask any Yankee fan about their fondest memories of being a Yankee fan and they’ll probably refer to 1996 – 2000. We don’t really talk about 2009 unless its in the context of having more championships than the Red Sox.

        You don’t speak for all Yankee fans, and comparing 4 WS in a 5 year period to one year isn’t exactly apples to apples.

      • chip56 - Feb 12, 2014 at 11:09 AM

        Craig,

        Where Sherman misses the boat is comparing it to the Alex trade which was, in fact, wildly successful not only for Alex’s production but also, as you point out, the fact that the Rangers were paying for part of the deal. If Sherman wanted to compare it to Alex, he should have gone with the second contract which was a disaster.

      • evanhartford - Feb 12, 2014 at 12:09 PM

        Craig, I never thought about it that way. Even though we’re venturing into the land of hypotheticals, I’m willing to bet that the NY Yankees organization would have traded the 2009 championship for being able to never have signed Arod. But as Francisco pointed out, the Yankees have that luxury because they have so many World Championships. Which brings up another interesting thought. The Red Sox fans basically worship Big Papi and have all but discounted his purported ties to steroids. They don’t have the luxury of being so outraged because without Big Papi/Manny Ramirez, they’re still in Cub country…

        Church, I speak for whomever I want to speak. The comparison of 4 years and 1 year is somewhat irrelevant. As a Yankee fan, I know a lot of other Yankee fans. I have heard a lot of Yankee fans talk about their fond memories of times they watched games or of players they loved. Most of the time, the talk centers around 1996 – 2000 or 2001 or 2003-2004. Some of the older fans might reference the late 70s. But since Arod became a pariah, I have not heard a single Yankee fan discuss 2009 in any context except when a Red Sox fan starts talking trash. I’m not making this up. 2009 is much less valuable because Arod is attached to it. If you think otherwise, than you obviously don’t know any Yankee fans.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 12, 2014 at 1:10 PM

        But since Arod became a pariah, I have not heard a single Yankee fan discuss 2009 in any context except when a Red Sox fan starts talking trash.

        I’m a Yankee fan, and 2009 was an awesome year because the 2nd best player I’ve ever seen on the Yanks (Clemens was first), was finally able to get a ring and was the major contributor to that championship.

        So again, you do not speak for all Yankee fans.

      • zzalapski - Feb 12, 2014 at 1:44 PM

        I’m willing to bet that the NY Yankees organization would have traded the 2009 championship for being able to never have signed Arod.

        In 2009, the Yankees:
        – made $319 M at the gate
        – had a revenue of $441 M
        – increased the franchise by 7% to $1.6 billion

        How much less would those numbers have been if they didn’t win the World Series? Probably enough to make Evan lose his bet. Also, he should meet more Yankees fans, if all the ones he knows aren’t happy about 2009.

      • evanhartford - Feb 12, 2014 at 2:14 PM

        Church. Wow. Clemens and Arod are your number 1 and number 2? Well now we all know why YOU could never speak on behalf of Yankee fans. I suppose Rosie Ruiz is your all-time best/favorite marathoner!

        zzalapski, I don’t really like venturing in the “land of hypotheticals”. You’re basically implying that the financial success of the Yankees in 2009 was entirely attributable to the winning of the World Series. Had they made it deep into the playoffs, the Yankees could have theoretically had a bang up financial year. You’re also ignoring the monetary/reputational impact (which probably can’t be measured) that Arod’s steroid debacle has brought on the Yankees since then.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 12, 2014 at 2:16 PM

        Church. Wow. Clemens and Arod are your number 1 and number 2? Well now we all know why YOU could never speak on behalf of Yankee fans. I suppose Rosie Ruiz is your all-time best/favorite marathoner!

        Are you intentionally obtuse or just trolling? Name two better Yankees than Clemens and Arod in the last 25 plus years? I’ll sit here waiting. And no Rivera wasn’t a better player than Clemens or Arod.

      • evanhartford - Feb 12, 2014 at 3:47 PM

        Church, I’d rather not get into the whole “opinions are like , everyone’s got one” debate.

        However, your way of thinking runs counter to the way of thinking of most Yankee (let alone) baseball fans. ESPN just ran a “50 Greatest Yankees” where they placed Arod at 13, noting that he was BY FAR, the most contraversial person on their list. Both Mariano and Jeter were placed ahead of him. Clemens didn’t even make the list. I’m not saying that ESPN is gospel, but they have a much better pulse on the majority opinion than you or I.

        But yeah, history will remember Jeter as a much better Yankee than Clemens or Arod. Your sabermetric-infused argument will NEVER change that.

        Gosh, I’m so glad that computers don’t rule the world (yet).

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 12, 2014 at 4:28 PM

        ESPN just ran a “50 Greatest Yankees” where they placed Arod at 13, noting that he was BY FAR, the most contraversial person on their list.

        And? The next time ESPN gets some decent analysis from someone that’s not outside the organization (fangraphs, BP, HBT, etc) will also be the first. Also, let’s not forget that Arod has only been on the team since ’04, so Jeter had a bit of a head start. But when looking over their entire careers, no way you can see Jeter is better.

        I’m not saying that ESPN is gospel, but they have a much better pulse on the majority opinion than you or I.

        Who cares what the majority thinks? There are people who comment on ESPN that think the Boston Marathon bombings were a gov’t conspiracy. There are people who think that a gay player is going to badly affect “team chemistry”. ESPN thinks Wally Matthews and Ian O’Connor are good writers, as well as Rob Parker…

        But yeah, history will remember Jeter as a much better Yankee than Clemens or Arod. Your sabermetric-infused argument will NEVER change that.

        Gosh, I’m so glad that computers don’t rule the world (yet).

        Sabrmetrics have nothing to do with it. By the end of their respective careers Arod will probably have more Runs, more 2bs, more HR, more walks, a higher OBP, a higher SLG (so subsequently high OPS and OPS+). Jeter will have hits (maybe) and a higher BA. Arod was far better defensively than Jeter ever was.

      • evanhartford - Feb 13, 2014 at 10:12 AM

        Church,

        I’ll end with this. Arod’s stats do not matter. He cheated. He could have hit a million home runs and I wouldn’t consider him a better baseball player than Alvero Espinoza (spelling). The moment you cheat (and its clear he’s been cheating for years) ALL of his stats are called into question.

        He probably is/was a great baseball player. He probably could have been the greatest shortstop of all time. But in the end we’ll never know. He’s become a sad and cautionary tale. He has been banished to the island of misfit athletes. He has good company in Clemens, Ramirez, McGwire, Ortiz, Sosa, Palmerio, Rosie Ruiz, Lance Armstrong etc.

  3. Alex K - Feb 12, 2014 at 8:45 AM

    A-Rod’s first 10 year contract wasn’t the problem for the Yankees. He was earing that money. It’s the second 10 year contract that they are pissed about.

  4. tfbuckfutter - Feb 12, 2014 at 8:50 AM

    Jay Sherman?

    It stinks!

    • Old Gator - Feb 12, 2014 at 9:12 AM

      Oh for Buddha’s sake, it’s the New York Pestilence. What did you expect from that pustular Murdochian rag of a once great newspaper?

  5. dan1111 - Feb 12, 2014 at 8:52 AM

    From a value perspective, A-Rod’s acquisition was great for the Yankees. He was easily worth the money and talent given up.

    The extension was the problem. From 2008 onwards he has hit .279/.369/.498 while averaging only 111 games per season. That is good, but far from the level he needed to perform to be worth the money–and that in the front half of the contract.

  6. dirtyharry1971 - Feb 12, 2014 at 9:06 AM

    Call me crazy but im gonna root for Tanaka to be a real good pitcher and not have “any” of a-rod’s baggage

    • natstowngreg - Feb 12, 2014 at 12:21 PM

      You’re crazy.

      [Hey, it's a dirty (Harry) job, but someone has to do it.]

      I can root for every player to avoid A-Rod’s baggage. Duh. Rooting for Tanaka to have a great career is another matter, since he’ll be pitching for the Evil Empire. Still, I don’t wish him any ill.

  7. jfk69 - Feb 12, 2014 at 9:08 AM

    How do you think they got all that money for the Yes Network. The bulk of their revenue is ad generated in one form or another. Papa Steinbrenner got it. Arod kept them on the front/back page of most papers. And won a championship, a few personal baseball titles and many AL Eastern crowns.
    Compared to Howard, Puglos and few others..He has been a steal.
    Give them a show. The baseball purists hate him. But with the advent of huge cable payments and ancillary revenue,the game has changed.
    CBS destroyed the Yankee brand. Gave it away for 10 million
    Steibrenner’s family has a team with network payments and cash worth 3 billion.
    Who is crazy?

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 12, 2014 at 9:24 AM

      CBS destroyed the Yankee brand. Gave it away for 10 million

      What?

      • jfk69 - Feb 12, 2014 at 9:36 AM

        Yep Maybe a little to far back for you. Two words Horace Clarke. CBS would’t spend a dime
        Who is paying who now…lol

        After the 1964 season, CBS purchased 80% of the Yankees from Topping and Webb for $11.2 million.[21] With the new ownership, the team began to decline. In fact, the Yankees finished in the second division for the first time in 40 years in 1965. This was worsened by the introduction of the major league amateur draft that year, which meant that the Yankees could no longer sign any player they wanted. Webb sold his 10 percent stake to CBS before the year was over.

        In 1966, the Yankees finished last in the AL for the first time since 1912. It also marked their first consecutive losing seasons since 1917 and 1918. They finished next-to-last in 1967. While their fortunes improved somewhat in the late 1960s and early 1970s, they only finished higher than fourth once during CBS’ ownership, in 1970. Various reasons have been given for the decline, but the single biggest one was the Yankees’ inability to replace their aging superstars with new ones, as they had consistently done in the previous five decades. Topping and Webb had owned the Yankees for 20 years, missing the World Series only five times and going 10–5 in the ones they did get to. By contrast, the CBS-owned teams never went to the World Series.

        At the start of this period, the Yankees lost their signature broadcaster dating back to the early 1940s. All-time “Voice of the Yankees” Mel Allen was fired after the 1964 season, supposedly due to cost-cutting measures by long time broadcast sponsor Ballantine Beer.[22]

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 12, 2014 at 1:45 PM

        No, I misunderstood you. I thought you meant that CBS destroyed the Yankees brand by selling the team for $10M to the Steinbrenners.

  8. psousa1 - Feb 12, 2014 at 9:42 AM

    Yeah JFK their is a generation gap. Most so called Yankee fans didn’t realize they still had a team until Joe Torre came to town. They were not watching in the late 80’s early 90’s when you would be sitting at the stadium and listen to the “Lets go Mets!” chants over and over.

    • jfk69 - Feb 12, 2014 at 9:53 AM

      The big news for the Yankees back then was when Kekich and Peterson swapped their whole families,including their dogs. Felt bad for the dogs.
      Peterson got the better of the deal.

      • stex52 - Feb 12, 2014 at 10:13 AM

        Man, I hadn’t thought about the whole “life swap” fiasco in years. That was a low point in Yankee media relations. Pretty bizarre, too. I’ll bet those dogs were confused.

      • jwbiii - Feb 12, 2014 at 10:54 AM

        No, it was the better deal for the dogs. Players spend 4 1/2 months per year on the road (1 1/2 for spring training, 3 of the 6 months during the regular season) so the dogs were much closer to the wives and kids.

    • cmoney4949 - Feb 12, 2014 at 1:10 PM

      I wish it was still the case.

  9. cmoney4949 - Feb 12, 2014 at 10:33 AM

    How else can the Stankees ruin baseball? They continue to inflate salaries in their attempt to buy more championship. When is MLB going to level the playing field and institute a salary cap? How much more do the Stankees have to spend over the majority of teams before the commish realizes this? Let’s hope this guy gets bombed in the majors and the Stankees regret the contract.

    • Alex K - Feb 12, 2014 at 10:51 AM

      Why do you want the owners to get a bigger piece of the revenue pie? That’s all a salary cap would really do. Baseball has just as much parity as the other major sports, so that’s not even a problem.

    • chip56 - Feb 12, 2014 at 11:13 AM

      Not only will MLB never have a salary cap but they don’t need one.

      If all it took to build a winner was money then the Dodgers would have been in the World Series last year and the Red Sox would have the year before.

      Just because your team sucks at developing a winner, that’s not the Yankees’ fault. Odds are that the Yankees are paying the salary of your team’s best player anyway.

    • dan1111 - Feb 12, 2014 at 12:39 PM

      Selig would love a salary cap, and indeed, tried to put one in place back in 1994. How did that turn out?

      A salary cap, as Alex K points out, is primarily a mechanism to allow the owners to keep more money. It might slightly increase parity, but it would also mean the prospect of a strike or lockout every time the labor agreement had to be renegotiated–this is what happens in all the sports leagues with salary caps.

      • cmoney4949 - Feb 12, 2014 at 1:07 PM

        How come it works in the NFL? Who cares if the owners make more money. Is a player really worth $35-40 million a year? Thats what Trout is probably going to get.

        If a team drafts well they are basically playing until they are free agents for the Yankees, Dodgers, red sox, and angles. Those teams will just out bid their current team and lose them.

        How can people say there is parity in MLB when teams like the yankees spend over $200 million more then the Astros? Look at 2013 team salaries.

        1. New York Yankees $228,835,490 $7,151,109
        2. Los Angeles Dodgers $216,597,577 $7,468,882
        3. Philadelphia Phillies $165,385,714 $6,125,397
        4. Boston Red Sox $150,655,500 $5,021,850
        5. Detroit Tigers $148,414,500 $5,708,250
        6. San Francisco Giants $140,264,334 $5,009,441
        7. Los Angeles Angels $127,896,250 $4,736,898
        8. Chicago White Sox $119,073,277 $4,410,121
        9. Toronto Blue Jays $117,527,800 $3,791,219
        10. St. Louis Cardinals $115,222,086 $3,973,175
        11. Texas Rangers $114,090,100 $4,074,646
        12. Washington Nationals $114,056,769 $4,386,799
        13. Cincinnati Reds $107,491,305 $4,134,281
        14. Chicago Cubs $104,304,676 $3,596,713
        15. Baltimore Orioles $90,993,333 $3,137,701
        16. Atlanta Braves $89,778,192 $3,095,800
        17. Arizona Diamondbacks $89,100,500 $2,970,017
        18. Milwaukee Brewers $82,976,944 $2,765,898
        19. Kansas City Royals $81,491,725 $3,018,212
        20. Pittsburgh Pirates $79,555,000 $2,651,833
        21. Cleveland Indians $77,772,800 $2,592,427
        22. Minnesota Twins $75,802,500 $2,707,232
        23. New York Mets $73,396,649 $2,530,919
        24. Seattle Mariners $72,031,143 $2,770,429
        25. Colorado Rockies $71,924,071 $2,766,310
        26. San Diego Padres $67,143,600 $2,165,923
        27. Oakland Athletics $60,664,500 $2,091,879
        28. Tampa Bay Rays $57,895,272 $2,144,269
        29. Miami Marlins $36,341,900 $1,135,684
        30. Houston Astros $22,062,600 $817,133

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 12, 2014 at 1:20 PM

        How come it works in the NFL?

        A, who says it works? When the same teams are always in the playoffs, like they are for the NBA/NFL, how does the cap work? B, the NFL has national TV rights that all teams share. MLB is built around regional sports networks. It’s an entirely different economic situation.

        Who cares if the owners make more money.

        I do, and everyone else should. Why should the owner’s get a larger slice of the pie when they aren’t doing anything on the field. Shouldn’t the players get the money?

        Is a player really worth $35-40 million a year? Thats what Trout is probably going to get.

        So far he’s had the best age 20 season in baseball history and possibly the best age 21 season. Why wouldn’t he be worth that?

        If a team drafts well they are basically playing until they are free agents for the Yankees, Dodgers, red sox, and angles. Those teams will just out bid their current team and lose them.

        So sign them earlier, or offer a large contract as well. There’s plenty of money in the game. Having a $30M payroll when you are taking in something like $25-30M from ESPN alone, another $25-30M from revenue sharing, and whatever from your local contract is absurd.

        How can people say there is parity in MLB when teams like the yankees spend over $200 million more then the Astros? Look at 2013 team salaries.

        What does parity have to do with money? The #27 and #28 teams made the playoffs last year. The #1 and #3 didn’t.

      • zzalapski - Feb 12, 2014 at 1:22 PM

        Considering that the players are who the fans pay to watch, I’d rather they get more money at the expense of the owners. If some team decides to give Trout a $35-40M/year contract, then, yes, he is worth that much.

  10. cmoney4949 - Feb 12, 2014 at 1:38 PM

    The NFL had 5 new teams in the playoffs last year different from the year before.

    Where does it end with the salaries? $400-$500 million a year for yankees? I know they spent that much this off season alone…

    There needs to be some kind of limit to the salary a team can spend and minimum amount they can spend also.

    Regardless of that I hope Tanaka’s contract is as disastrous as A-ROid’s current one for the team.

    • zzalapski - Feb 12, 2014 at 1:49 PM

      If you maintain that people shouldn’t care how much the owners make, why are you caring how they spend it? It’s not like that money is coming out of your taxes.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 12, 2014 at 1:53 PM

      So you’re just going to ignore all the comments I posted above and repeat yourself. When you make comments, the natural inclination some of us have is to ask “why” because you’re just making statements without any proof to back up those feelings.

      Why does there need to be a limit?

      The NFL had 5 new teams in the playoffs last year different from the year before.

      So did MLB, and they have two less teams make the playoffs. [including the play in game]

    • jfk69 - Feb 12, 2014 at 1:58 PM

      It works in the NFL for three reasons.
      Contracts are not fully guaranteed
      College players are either NFL ready or not. There is no minor league in football
      Average NFL career roughly 7 years. Running backs 4 years.
      Let me put it another way.. Two non guaranteed contracts. Then a cripple for life.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 12, 2014 at 2:21 PM

        Has it gone up to that high (7 years)? I had always read it was a lot worse, even for RB (2-3 years)?

  11. jfk69 - Feb 12, 2014 at 1:47 PM

    IT WORKS IN THE

    • jfk69 - Feb 12, 2014 at 1:58 PM

      It works in the NFL for three reasons.
      Contracts are not fully guaranteed
      College players are either NFL ready or not. There is no minor league in football
      Average NFL career roughly 7 years. Running backs 4 years.
      Let me put it another way.. Two non guaranteed contracts. Then a cripple for life.

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