Cashman needs to pursue moving ARod
Although both Cashman & Girardi have stated that Alex is the Yankees 3B in 2013 and they have no plans to pursue a trade, they would be foolish to not explore every opportunity to move him. We all know the obstacles in place to move Alex, the 5 yrs @ $114 Million remaining on his deal, the no-trade clause and his decline at the age of 37. However, if anything has been proven over the last year in MLB, it’s that any player can be traded regardless of the obstacles.
This is not meant to be a typical, blame all of the Yankees problems on ARod piece. Alex is still an above average player in the regular season and has value going forward. So why should the Yankees trade him? Well, there are 3 major motivations for the Yankees to pursue a trade:
- The Money - In years past, it really wouldn’t matter what ARod made as the Yankee payroll was routinely $210-225 Million. However, with Hal dead serious about reducing the payroll to get under the $189M Luxury Tax threshold, the ARod deal is the biggest albatross. Although he will make less in the latter years of the deal, he will still count $27.5M towards the Cap every year due to the Annual Average Value and that amount will balloon to $33.5M in the years he hits his milestones. That first milestone is likely to be hit in 2013 as he needs 13 HRs to tie Willie Mays.
- Derek Jeter - We don’t know how Jeter will recover from his broken ankle or how it will affect his already declining range at SS. I’m not one who thinks Jeters range kills the team but the facts are he will have to play fewer games at SS in 2013 and beyond. With Derek needing more time at DH in coming years, can the team really afford to have 2 players in their late 30′s that need extensive DH time?
- The Post-season - I really thought Alex lifted an enormous monkey off his back with his performance in the 2009 Playoffs when he helped lead the team to the WS. However, since then he has been totally invisible in the post-season for the last 3 years. Since 2009, he is 12 for 75 (.160 BA) with 0 HRs and only 2 Doubles for an anemic .448 OPS and 24 StrikeOuts. In his Yankee career, he has had 2 good post-seasons, 1 meh and 5 complete debacles. For a team that goes to the post-season nearly every yr, they need better than that and it is clear that Alex presses during the post-season.
With the above demerits, why would any team want to trade for ARod? Well, let’s look at the motivations for a team like Miami. The money is definitely an issue and the Yanks would have to take back a big salary, eat money and perhaps sweeten the pot with another good player. But Miami wouldn’t have the same financial issues as the Yankees do. For starters, the Luxury Tax is not an issue for them so the fact that Alex’ AAV is higher than his actual paycheck is meaningless to them. The fact that his salary drops to $20-21M the final 3 years is advantageous to Florida. The other big detriment to the Yankees is also meaningless to Miami – the post-season performance. Miami was in last place in 2012 and they would be happy just to make it to the post-season in the next few years.
The 3 major reasons Miami would be interested in Alex are the following:
- Attendance/Exposure - Miami just opened their new stadium in 2012 and have been looking for Latino box office draws to create a buzz and fill seats. If anything, Alex is interesting and always creates a huge media buzz. Miami would definitely benefit from the added exposure and the fact that Alex is aa Miami-native with deep ties to the community is a huge factor for them. Miami tried to sign Albert Pujols in FA as a big Latin draw but failed, they signed Jose Reyes for the same reason. Alex could play the role Pujols was intended to play in the community. Chasing down some HR landmarks may also create a buzz in Miami where it’s almost hum-drum in drama-filled NY.
- Leadership - Despite his flaws, Alex has become a solid leader for younger players and youn Latin players specifically. With Florida building with a young club, ARod could be an important force in the clubhouse to show the young players how to work hard and what is required to succeed. In NY, he’s always in the shadow of Jeter but in Miami – his town, his home – he could be in charge.
- Performance - Like Cashman said, Alex is still an above-average 3B. Although his #s are in decline, he still had a 112 OPS+ in his worse season of his career in 2012. If healthy and rejuvenated in a new setting, he could be a good complement in their lineup to young stud Giancarlo Stanton.
Miami has 2 high-priced, long-term commitments on their books after trading Heath Bell. Both players have heavily back-loaded contracts. The first – Jose Reyes – is highly unlikely to be moved as he’s still young, productive and dynamic. the 2nd player is Mark Buehrle who may be a candidate for the Yanks to take back in an ARod deal. Buehrle made just $6M in 2012 but his salary jumps to $11M in 2013 , then to $18 & $19M in the final 2 seasons. To me, that means Miami intends to trade him in those latter years. He has 3 yrs @ $48M left on his deal and he’s still a solid starter with proven success in the A.L. The Yanks could take him back, eat some money and maybe throw Miami a player to make the deal even. It could be done.
The last impediment of such a deal is ARod and his no-trade clause. But after being embarrassed by the club in the Playoffs and having lukewarm at best support from the NY fans, I think Alex would jump at the chance to go to Miami – his hometown, with a chance to start over and without the glaring spotlight of the NY media and constant post-season pressure.
What do you think? Is a trade possible and should the Yankees pursue it or just sit back and listen like Cashman says? Cashman has always been a very stealth operator who feeds the media a lot of mis-information. I have to believe he will explore every option to deal ARod this Winter because of the reasons above.