Approximately 25 percent ($53.125 million) of the New Yankees 2012 payroll ($196 million) is dedicated to the services of two players: Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira. For those of you scoring at home, that’s more than the entire Oakland Athletics team.
Both sluggers are under contract with the Bombers until 2016 (A-Rod until 2017).
Many people see this as a blessing in monetary fortitude that the Yankees possess. However, most recently, others see the long-term acquisitions as a severe form of silly drunken spending.
There’s no secret that if a World Series trophy isn’t on a Steinbrenner’s desk in October then the year was all for naught. Even with co-owner Hal Steinbrenner prioritizing looming luxury tax limits on the same importance as championships, the team sincerely expects to be the last one standing in autumn.
Yet, since their last crown, Yankee brethren have been questioning if the team can sustain the bloated contracts of the two “superstars” in pursuit of their 28th World Series championship. Is it possible this team can continue to be mentioned as a title possibility every year when they dedicate over $50 million to these two individuals?
With guns to their heads, the front office will probably admit they overpaid for both Teixeira and Rodriguez. At 37 years old, A-Rod’s power seems to flash in the frequency of lighting bolts, instead of always being a constant threat. And in Tex’s case, his failed postseasons and slow Aprils and Mays have begun to raise serious issues if he can be the same guy who was inked in 2009.
But, when push comes to shove, everyone needs to take a deep breath and relax.
While he may not be the same MVP from years ago, Rodriguez is still an above-average player that any team would die to have. Understandably, batting .277 with seven home runs through two months of baseball is not indicative of a $30 million man. He still possesses a great capacity to man the hot corner at his age. Let’s also not forget how quickly his home run tenacity can appear out of nowhere, as he commented he had “found something in his swing” hours before launching two bombs against the Royals.
As for Teixeira, until recently he had been beaten down like a week old horse. In fact, one WFAN caller deemed him, “Steve Balboni with a glove.”
Of course, criticism of that magnitude is moronic. Usually, the month of April is more than a thorn in the side of the 32-year-old first baseman. His notorious slow start is an annual as a swallow returning to Capistrano. However, this year that quiet beginning includes most of May too. But, don’t fear Yankee Universe because the last two weeks have seen Tex's average jump almost 50 points and HR production double.
Yet, amidst the surge in production, the doubters remain in large numbers. Crooked fingers are pointed at the overall failed numbers and lack of clutching hitting of both in the postseason.
Honestly, its hard to predict the results of anyone in such a small sample size. We give a mulligan to the numbers of 162 games, but slice and dice the paltry example of a playoff series.
In New York, the postseason is the real season. Both Rodriguez and Teixeira have taken their lumps in respect to the second season. However, it’s not fair to either to assume their previous success cannot translate in the playoff prowess.
Through 46 games, many have gone back and forth on the roller coaster seasons of both these men. Let us realize there are peaks and valleys to everything. Instead of complaining, strap yourself in and try to enjoy the ride.