MLB’s last decade taught us guys will do anything, no matter how unhealthy or illegal, to get an edge on the opposition.
Call it the Performance Enhancing Drug (PED)-era: we’ve got greenies (speed), multiple types of steroids, HGH, biting into the adrenal gland of a rare marsupial (okay, I made that up), and almost anything and everything imaginable in pursuit of supreme performance.
The philosophical debate rages about the ethicality of PEDs, but nothing obliterates the line between right and wrong quite like the allegations that Alex Rodriguez tipped opposing hitters to what pitch was forthcoming in hopes that the favor would be returned.
Oh the pressure to be the best.
This is the guy who claimed no 'roids to that lady on CBS then changed his tune for that guy on the “big sports network”, and now the Selena Roberts book alleges a much longer steroid timeline dating back to high school.
Very few players could possibly hold his PED past—if it is in the past—against him, but the alleged pitch-tipping means A-Rod will face several former teammates who must be wondering if their career ERAs shouldn’t be a tad lower.
These former teammates would most certainly hold it against him if they believe the opposing batter knew the pitch they threw via A-Rod.
Makes you wonder when this alleged practice of pitch-tipping began.
Was his cousin somehow involved?
And if/when he does get thrown at, will Yankee pitchers retaliate on his behalf? Or do nothing, knowing he may have tipped off the opposition when they've been on the mound?
When all is said and done, this guy may be blamed for swine flu, global warming, solar dimming, the economic crisis, the Detroit Lions, the end of oil, or any other imaginable doomsday scenario, but, for now, I give you the 10 Pitchers Most Likely to Plunk A-Rod in 2009.
An A-Rod teammate in Seattle from 1996-2000.
Which came first, the steroids or the pitch tipping?
Perhaps pitches were not being tipped early in A-Rod's career (this could be a naive thesis on my part), so his former Seattle teammates may be less likely to send a message than a former Rangers or Yankees teammate.
Moyer started in the Big Leagues when Ronald Regan was in office. He was once traded for steroid/viagra/finger-pointing guy Rafael Palmeiro.
As the league's elder statesmen, it's almost his obligation to drill his former teammate if given the chance. It should be noted that getting drilled by a Moyer fastball feels a little like a five year old girl hitting you with the palm of her hand.
Unfortunately, it looks like the Yankees will miss Moyer's turn in the rotation during this weekends' inter-league series. Might have to wait for some possible World Series plunking.
An A-Rod teammate in Seattle in 1997.
More inter-league plunking?
It was a long time ago, but if the Braves' ace faces him in a situation that won't jeopardize a win, A-Rod should look out.
As a veteran (like Moyer), it's almost Lowe's responsibility to take a stand for all the past pitchers who fell victim to these alleged wrong doings.
Lowe was also a member of the 2004 Red Sox team that rallied from down 0-3 to beat Rodriguez and the Yankees in the ALCS.
An A-Rod teammate in Texas in 2001.
He gave up five bombs in less than 15 innings while on the field with A-Rod. At no other time in his career has he come close to giving up dingers at that rate.
His career took off when he was traded to the A's and was no longer an A-Rod teammate. Was this a coincidence?
An A-Rod teammate in Texas in 2002 and 2003.
It now looks as if Park will miss his former teammate this weekend as inter-league play begins.
Park has also plunked the fourth most batters among active pitchers.
Barry Zito, Kevin Brown, and Mike Hampton tend to be the poster boys of pitching dollars poorly spent, but Park's five-year, $65 million deal has to go down as one of the worst mound investments in MLB history.
He spent three seasons in Arlington compiling a 14-18 record with an ERA close to seven, obviously brutal numbers, but did the alleged tipster make them worse?
With a fastball in the mid 90s, A-Rod might think twice about digging in too hard on Friday versus Park.
A-Rod missed the first meetings with Kansas City dealing with his hip, but should be extra alert when they come to town in late September. Four Royals once called A-Rod a teammate.
1.Gil Meche: A-Rod teammate in Seattle in 1999 and 2000.
2. Ron Mahay: A-Rod teammate in Texas in 2003.
3. Sidney Ponson: A-Rod teammate in New York in 2006 and 2008. He was knighted in his native Aruba in 2003, but then the following year was arrested for assaulting a judge. He appears to have issues with his temper.
4. The fourth Royal is coming up a little later in the slide show.
Villone was an A-Rod teammate in New York in 2006 and 2007.
He put up mediocre numbers as a Yankee quite similar to the mediocre numbers accrued over his entire career.
He was also named in the Mitchell Report, so we know the two posses a common interest. This might not be enough to prevent more inter-league plunking.
Octavio Dotel was an A-Rod teammate in New York in 2006.
He was one of six Astros who combined for a no-hitter in Yankee Stadium the year before A-Rod arrived.
He only threw 10 innings as a Yankee and had an ERA of 10.80 and a WHIP of 2.90. It was as if the opposition knew what was coming.
Vazquez was an A-Rod teammate in New York in 2004.
Both players came to the Bronx prior to the 2004 campaign. Vazquez's ERA went from 3.24 in 2003 in Montreal to 4.91 his lone season playing alongside A-Rod.
He had the worst statistical year of his career since his rookie season in that year. Was it the pressures of New York, or something else?
Pavano was an A-Rod teammate in New York from 2005-2008.
He is right there with Chan Ho Park pertaining to poor return on investment. He was signed during Steinbrenner's 2005 Year of the Pitcher, along with a brittle Jarret Wright and an old Randy Johnson (maybe the guy who would like to bean A-Rod the most), for four years, $39.9 million.
He made 26 starts during those four injury/indifference-plagued seasons.
The guy that Boston traded to Montreal for Pedro Martinez won a World Series ring with the Marlins in 2003 and while a member of the Yankees, was better known for dating hot women and getting called out by his own teammates for a lack of commitment than any sort of prowess on the mound.
Should Pavano's hideous Yankee numbers (9-8, 5.93 ERA) be less so?
Kyle Farnsworth an A-Rod teammate in New York in 2006 and 2007.
He can "bring it" in the high 90s.
This guys nickname should be psycho, just look at him. And it goes beyond the look as hes got the violent track record to deserve such a moniker. Just ask Paul Wilson or Jeremy Affeldt.
Even if this guy was your best bud, you'd think twice before comfortably digging in for an at-bat against him.
If you mess with him, he is the kind of guy who will most certainly mess with you.
This season, Mr. Kyle Farnsworth earns the distinction of 'Pitcher Most Likely to Plunk A-Rod'.