Sunday, February 15, 2004


A-Rod to the Yankees? A-Rod to the Yankees!?!?!?

I heard about the trade on the way to pick up Chinese food last night (that's what people with small kids do on Valentine's Day). I turned on WEEI and they were talking about it, although it took a few minutes before I got all the details. I started getting more and more nauseous as I drove along.

This just goes to show what's wrong with baseball. The Yankees are the ONLY team that could have made this trade. It's through an accident of geography and revenue that they are able to take on Alex Rodriguez's massive contract, not through any particular cleverness on the part of Boss Steinbrenner or Brian Cashman. The NFL and NBA structures give teams from small markets like Green Bay and San Antonio the opportunity to compete. In Major League Baseball, it's much more difficult for small markets to compete, although it can be done for short periods of time.

This is, of course, another blow to Sox fans in the ongoing war with the Evil Empire. The Sox appeared to finally pull ahead of the Yanks on paper with the acquisitions of Curt Schilling and Keith Foulke over the winter. Those additions added to the Yankees losses of Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte over the winter, plus the aging of Bernie Williams made the boys from the Bronx look vulnerable for a change.

Of course, it's not all bad news. Unless the Yanks make another move, Alfonso Soriano's move to the Rangers weakens them offensively at 2nd base. Manny's drinking buddy Enrique Wilson is something of an upgrade with the glove, however.

A-Rod must be desperate to get out of Texas. During the trade talks with the Sox it was widely reported that he wouldn't move from shortstop and wouldn't go to New York. I guess the prospect of another year in Arlington with that pitching staff (5.67 ERA last year) can do strange things to a man. If you ask me, though, Jeter ought to be the one moving to 3rd base, not Rodriguez.

All is not lost, however. The Red Sox still have a great offense, great starting pitching and an upgraded bullpen. The addition of Pokey Reese should be a huge defensive upgrade on the right side of the infield. The Yankees starting pitching is vulnerable. Kevin Brown is still great when he's healthy, but he could go down at any time. Jon Lieber is coming off elbow surgery. Jose Contreras has yet to prove he can be a good starter on a consistent basis. And we have no idea how Javier Vazquez will react to the pressure of being under the microscope in Yankee Stadium instead of the relative quiet of Montreal/San Juan.

There is, however, one good thing to come out of this. The A-Rod deal knocked the acrimonious gay marriage debate off the front page...


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