No Way-Rod!

November 4, 2007

The offseason is both my favorite and least favorite time of the baseball year. First, I enjoy assembling an offseason plan. Then I enjoy following the signings and trades while we wait for the team to come together. I even enjoy, on some level anyway, throwing my keyboard against the wall when I read about the moves the Mariners make. Then once the team has been formed, I enjoy projecting the clubs results. 

Unfortunately, I do hate the annual A-Rod drama. This year, A-Rod wants more money. The question isn’t will anyone hand A-Rod the 8 year 30-35 million per the question is should. I know plenty of my readers are in the camp that says “Yes, sir may I have another”. I will take the opposing position, not to be contrarian, but because I believe it. 

A list of reasons why paying A-Rod crazy money is a stupid idea:

1. He’s coming off a career year- At age 31, he posted a career high in OBP and SLG. Last season wasn’t a typical A-Rod season. It was his best, and it wasn’t even close.

2. 30-35 million a season is a lot of money- For a sense of scale 35 million is about a little under 1/3 of the Mariners payroll. It’s not like the Mariners are a team with a small budget. Buying A-Rod forces a team to use young talent because such a large percentage of the teams payroll is committed to A-Rod.

3. For a Hall of fame talent, he doesn’t sell tickets- A-Rod doesn’t have a popularity that transcends baseball so he won’t help a team economically by broadening that teams appeal.

4. He’s 32 next year- He will be getting paid for what he has done on the right side of 30, not what he projects to do on the wrong side.

5. Miguel Cabrera- If a team is going to break the bank on a third baseman; Miguel Cabrera would be the guy to pursue. In three years, he’s going to be light years better than A-Rod.

6. A-Rods bat doesn’t carry his glove- This sounds harsher than intended. The last time he was a free agent, A-Rod was an above average defender at short who was one of the leagues better hitters. Now A-Rod is probably the best hitter in baseball but his defense in no longer above average. By the end of this contract, A-Rod is going to be a 1B or a DH. For all the talk of inflation, I doubt that 30-35 million will be remotely close to the going rate for a 130 OPS+ first baseman. 

That list does give me a type of team that should sign A-Rod: A team with lots of young talent that wants to win right now. The impact of an A-Rod on the Angels, Red Sox, or Dodgers would almost guarantee the team a playoff spot for the next few years. 

But one thing is for sure. The Mariners aren’t the team that can afford to dump the kind of money that it will take to get A-Rod into one player.