Friday, January 16, 2015

A-Rod intends to play 3B? HOW DARE HE!

Alex Rodriguez seldom fares well with Mr. Anonymous Source. They don't get along. And whisperings from Miami yesterday from our unnamed little birdie say A-Rod intends to ruin everything - everything - this spring by showing up in shape and playing third. Hasn't he read the news? The Yankees signed the new Twin Plums of Gotham - Chase Headley and Stephen Drew - yet A-Rod still expects to get his minutes? What gall!

Says Mr. Unnamed: 

“Alex’s mind is that job’s not Headley’s, it’s Alex’s to lose. That’s what he thinks. Alex is going into training camp thinking that he is the starting third baseman, that if there’s a competition, Headley’s got to win it from him.”

Well, well, well... somebody is going to have to learn his place. The Murdoch/Lupica/Madden Penalty Box is in need of a warm body, and we all know the candidate. But here's a question for the day:

What if, say, in spring training... A-Rod is better than Headley? 

Keep in mind, we're not talking about out-racing Seabiscuit. To beat Headley, you need to field the position and hit .240, with about 20 HR.

And let's face it: Alex might look good in Tampa, but he probably can't sustain that level through an entire season. He is one of the great athletes of his generation, but he's also 40... and we just saw what 40 did to Jeter. (As we'll see to Beltran, Sabathia, and the rest of our assembled Senior Citizen Kazoo Band.)

But if A-Rod can play third, we start the season with two veteran 3B, two experienced SS (Gregorius and Drew), and nobody with experience at 2B. (Refsnyder and Pirela, the rookies, might be ready, and Drew will be learning the job.) At first, it's old Teixeira, backed up by A-Rod, Headley, and the AARP.

A solid defensive infield, with nobody who hit a lick last year.

Maybe they'll have bounce back seasons. Maybe the rookies will soar. But there is only one real intangible here: A-Rod.

Of course, the real self-delusion is not A-Rod's. The craziest notion is  that the Yankee starting rotation can last into June without a scrapheap infusion of Sidney Ponsons and Wally Whithursts. We have improved the bullpen - I think. (No closer, yet.) The outfield is passable, if everybody stays healthy.

The faces have changed, but basically it's the same team as last year - with A-Rod instead of Jeter. With loud booing... instead of cheers.

Winter isn't over. There are pitchers yet to sign, tweaks yet to make. But it's strange: The best news we've heard is that A-Rod seems in shape, and yet that news is treated like a stick in the eye. Five weeks until pitchers show, folks. Another depressing pre-season looms.

Where have you gone Yoan Mocata, our nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

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