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Managing the Moolah

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I make no secrets about the teams for which I root for. Some of them are the most hated in all of sports, the New York Yankees. Other teams I root for tend to garner me some sympathy (Phoenix Suns, Miami Dolphins) but not many players that have been members of any of the teams I root for, or of any other team garner as much negativity as New York Yankees Alex Rodriguez.

It’s easy to pinpoint faults with Rodriguez. He is a player who has possessed other-worldly talent in his career along with a contract to match. Rodriguez is no stranger to criticisms. Mostly for his massive $200 million+ contract, some about his admitted steroid usage during 2 season in Texas with the Rangers. Others hate how arrogant and self-absorbed he appears to be and his failure, in many Yankee fans eyes, to become a truly beloved Yankee.

But while some of those arguments are better for another day, and better assessed after Rodriguez hangs up his cleats for good, there is one topic I would like to put under the microscope.

While many vilified Rodriguez for the contract and how much he has cost the Yankees, he has handled the pressure of the contract better than some other players in the MLB. Let’s take a look.

 

Alex Rodriguez (10-year, $275 million) New York Yankees

Rodriguez arrived in New York in a trade from the Texas Rangers and opted out of his contract in 2007. Although rumors indicated he flirted with the Anaheim Angels and the Los Angeles Dodgers, he resigned a 10-year deal with the Yankees.

Say what you will about the way Rodriguez conducts himself or his admitted steroid use with the Rangers (not with the Yankees). Rodriguez has had the following interesting bulletpoints during the length of his contract:

  • 2007 MLB Most Valuable Player (.314, 54 hrs, 156 rbis)
  • 2009 World Series Champion
  • Batted 8th in 2006 ALDS against Detroit Tigers
  • Joe Torre slams/ridicules Rodriguez in book
  • Hit 600th career homerun
  • Over 250 homeruns as a Yankee
  • Steroid scandal released

Certainly people will point to the steroid issue. But keep in mind while other players denied their false tests (Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, Ryan Braun) Rodriguez admitted to it and outlined when he used it (with the Rangers). Taking into account those are the facts presented to us, the steroid scandal had no baring on his performance with the Yankees, meaning save the steroid talk for when you are looking at his tenure with the Rangers, when it was proven he did in fact take something illegal.
Albert Pujols (10-year, $240 million) Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

While Rodriguez certainly belongs in the conversation of possible “greatest of all time” so does Albert Pujols. And while I admit that this may be a tad unfair at this point seeing how Pujols hasn’t played more than 3 months for the Angels, it’s still worth exploring.

Pujols has been dreadful in Anaheim. Through 34 games Pujols, a career .320+ hitter, is hitting .195 with 1 homerun and 12 rbis. But Pujols has also crumbled under the massive pressure of the contract. Take a look at some of his bulletpoints

  • Longest homerun drought of career
  • Throws glove at teammate, Eric Aybar, for elbow tapping him instead of high fiving him (See here)
  • Publicly criticizes hitting coach Mickey Hatcher (click here)
  • Benched for a game due to poor play (read here)

Certainly doesn’t seem like the type of behavior that fits Pujols’ reputation of being a professional. In fact, it’s more accurate to describe the behavior as arrogant, immature and unprofessional.

When you compare the start of Pujols’ career with his $200+ million contract vs that of Rodriguez’s it’s easy to question if Rodriguez gets a bad rap.

Surely, Pujols is too darn talented to keep this up, one of the best hitters this game has ever or will ever seen, but at present moment it looks like the Angels got hosed in this deal and Pujols is crumbling under both the pressure of the contract, expectations for the Angels, the move to the West Coast and more importantly, the move to the American League which is hardly ever mentioned as an issue.

 

Carl Crawford (seven-year, $142.0 million) Boston Red Sox
Remeber when Carl Crawford was considered one of the best outfielders int he majors? It wasn’t that long ago. But Crawford hasn’t just been dreadful in Boston, he’s been absent.

After batting .307 with 19 homeruns, 90 rbis and 47 stolen bases in 2010 with the Tampa Bay Rays, Crawford signed a megadeal in Beantown, one that made the BoSox a heavy favorite to compete for a World Series title.

In 130 games in 2011 with Boston, Crawford batted .255 with 11 homeruns, 56 rbis and only 18 stolen bases. Take a look at his other bulletpoints.

  • Injured wrist in 2011 that has lingered to 2012
  • Has not played a game in 2012
  • Historic collapse down the stretch

 

 

Mark Teixeira ( 8 year, $180.0 million) New York Yankees

Teixeira, one of the majors best first basemen, signed an 8-year contract with the Bronx Bombers back in 2008. In 2009, the Yankees won the World Series title and owe a large part of that to the play of Teixeira.

With Teixeira has been a model citizen with the Yankees and a great clubhouse guy, he has consistently declined each season in the Bronx, more specifically at the plate.

This season alone Teixeira, who is off to another abysmal start, is batting just .223 with 4 homeruns and 17 rbi’s. While this may anger most Yankee fans what should really anger them is the decline of Teixeira’s performance at the plate year after year. Have a look at the breakdown since he came over to the Bronx:

  • 2009 – .290 ba, 39 hrs, 122 rbis
  • 2010 –  .256 ba, 33 hrs, 108 rbis
  • 2011 – .248 ba, 39 hrs, 111 rbis

While it’s easy to give Teixeira a pass due to his consistent home run and rbi totals, it really should not give him any pass. Take into account that his On Base Percentage has also steadily declined, and his playoff numbers are borderline atrocious. Take a look at his last playoff appearance

  • 2011 – .167 ba, 0 hrs, 1 rbi

Teixeira is as solid a first baseman as there is, but are the Yankees getting ripped off in this deal?

 

I know for a fact I left out some other large contracts, but these 4 were the ones I really wanted to focus on. All are big market teams that made huge splashes when they signed that particular free agent. My question to you is, does this make you view Rodriguez differently? Better yet, who is getting hosed the most?

 

 

 

 

Anthony DiMoro is the creator of Sports Rants and the CEO of Elite Rank Media and DiMoro Enterprises LLC. He is a former Contributor for Forbes and the Huffington Post where he covered sports, social media, and SEO. Anthony hosts the Anthony DiMoro Show podcast, and formerly hosted the 'Forbes SportsMoney Podcast'.

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MLB

Flyers Remove Statue of Kate Smith

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The Philadelphia Flyers have joined the New York Yankees in the removal of ties to singer Kate Smith, whose famous rendition of “God Bless America” was played at both Flyers and Yankees games.

Earlier this week, the Yankees decided to suspend the use of Smith’s rendition, which was played during the seventh-inning stretch, while they investigated allegations of racism against the later singer.

According to a report from the New York Daily News, there are conflicting claims about Smith’s 1939 song “That’s Why Darkies Were Born” which
originated in the 1931 Broadway revue “George White’s Scandals” and was considered satire but includes racist language, including the line;
“Someone had to pick the cotton. … That’s why darkies were born.”

The song was recorded by Smith and Paul Robeson, who was black.

The Flyers put out the following statement on Sunday (h/t ESPN):

“The Flyers have enjoyed a long and popular relationship with ‘God Bless America,’ as performed by the late Kate Smith, a woman who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Honor for her patriotic contributions to our nation.

“But in recent days, we learned that several of the songs Kate Smith performed in the 1930s include lyrics and sentiments that are incompatible with the values of our organization, and evoke painful and unacceptable themes.”

Smith, who was popular during the WWII era, recorded the offensive jingle, “Pickaninny Heaven,” which she directed at “colored children” who should fantasize about an amazing place with “great big watermelons,” among various other treats. 

Smith also endorsed the “Mammy Doll” back in 1939 which was based on a racist caricature of a black woman similar to Aunt Jemima.


“The Yankees have been made aware of a recording that had been previously unknown to us and decided to immediately and carefully review this new information,” a club spokesman said. “The Yankees take social, racial and cultural insensitivities very seriously. And while no final conclusions have been made, we are erring on the side of sensitivity.”

The odds aren’t good that Smith’s songs will return to their prominent places during sporting events such as they were with the Yankees and the Flyers.

There is a lot of cleaning up to do when it comes to racism in sports, and weeding out songs attached to artists with questionable, and controversial, backgrounds such as Smith’s, is important in pushing forward towards the future.

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Chicago Cubs

MLB Investigating Racist Social Media Messages Sent to Cubs’ Carl Edwards Jr.

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Major League Baseball is investigating racial messages sent, via social media, to Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Carl Edwards Jr. prior to his demotion to the Triple-A Iowa Cubs back on April 6th.

According to The Athletic’s Patrick Mooney, the messages have caught the attention of both the Cubs and the MLB Players Association, leading to the launch of the investigation.

Mooney had been a solid bullpen option during the last few seasons, but had a nightmare start to the 2019 season posting a terrible 32.40 ERA in just 1.2 innings of work over four appearances.

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MLB

Carlos Zambrano Attempting Comeback, Signs with Indy Team

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Former MLB pitcher Carlos Zambrano is attempting a comeback and has signed with the American Association’s Chicago Dogs, according to the Chicago Sun-Times’ Gordon Wittenmyer.

Zambrano last pitched in the majors back in 2012 with the Miami Marlins, but earlier in his career he finished in the top five of the Cy Young voting in the National League three times as a member of the Chicago Cubs.

Zambrano started his comeback bid last fall when he took the mound for 7 starts in the Mexican League, pitching to the tune of a 5.18 ERA, and performing even worse during a short stint in the Venezuelan Winter League.

Given his recent lack of production, it is a longshot to believe that Zambrano will return to the MLB level, but stranger things have happened.

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