More A-Rod, All the Time
Rob wrote in a recent comment, "I do admit that I really shouldn't speak for Jason, Kurt, Byron, et al. But honestly, if they don't think the same way I do about this, then probably I shouldn't be on the same website."
This was going to initially be a response in the comments part of the site, but it grew into a post.
I wouldn't go so far as to say that we don't belong on the same website, but we obviously have different sensibilities in some regards.
When I look at A-Rod I see a highly productive player who commands a large salary and belongs in the Hall of Fame someday. Players with his offensive capabilities are extremely rare. I don't think he's worth his contract, though.
When it comes to "winning," this is when we get into heavily philosophical shit. Do certain players "know how to win?" Are certain players "detrimental toward winning?" Does A-Rod fall into the latter category if he doesn't make the former one?
I think the whole concept is just a tid bit overrated. In 1999, a common comment you might hear was that Kevin Tapani "knew how to win" because he won 19 in '98, despite a very mediocre ERA. I remember people arguing that he knew how to just get enough out of his stuff to win games. Then he went on to get his ass kicked in pretty much every start of the '99 and 2000 seasons. Does that mean he somehow FORGOT?
If A-Rod is NOT a team leader and somehow contributes NEGATIVELY to their chances of victory, then the Yankees still have a NUMBER of guys who "know how to win" like Jeter. If they have a player like Jeter, what does it matter what A-Rod does so long as he hits the damned ball?
I think A-Rod's only on-field crimes have stemmed from his poor post-season production as of the past few years. In some degree it's his fault, especially if the whole thing has gotten into his head. But playoff production is very flukish - players like Aramis Ramirez can bat 0-for-October just a few years after setting the all-time team record for career post season homeruns. So which one is the real Aramis? The guy who hit clutch homeruns in 2003 or the guy who swung from his ass in '07 and '08?
Ultimately I have to conclude that the only guys who are "detrimental toward winning" are the Neifis of the world who steal at bats from players more likely to produce better numbers. I wouldn't want A-Rod on my team because he's an asset-vacuum (for 25 million a year the Cubs could be a well-rounded team, OR they could have an extremely productive shortstop. I pick the former).
I don't think it matters if A-Rod "knows how to win" or is a "team player" or any of that B.S. - because he definitely knows how to HIT. The problem with the Yankees in the past four or five seasons stems from them being built like the statue from Daniel 2 - and a Bible reference might be a GROTA first - built with a head of gold, chest and arms of fine silver, a belly of brass, legs of iron, and feet of clay. It's not A-Rod's fault, it's Cashman's.