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A-Rod in Queens? Bad Idea.

Mike SteffanosTuesday, October 30, 2007
By Mike Steffanos

You get the feeling that Alex Rodriguez could be this off-season's Manny Ramirez -- at least until someone signs him. For me, it's a no-brainer as to whether I believe the Mets should sign him. I don't need Sabremetrics or the opinions of the local media or even a Ouija board to know why I believe this to be a huge mistake.

It has nothing to do with 24-1 in the clubhouse, nor Alex' propensity to be in the middle of weird little media controversies by inserting his Hush Puppies into his own orifice. It's not about his ego, his wife or whether or not he's a "good guy". It's not about the money.

If Alex Rodriguez comes to the Mets and struggles, he will become a target of the segment of the fan base that will boo a player unrelentingly. He will be Kaz Matsui, Victor Zambrano and Guillermo Mota rolled into one massive target. There will be little patience shown towards the 30 million dollar man. If he fails to produce in clutch situation, it could get ugly very quickly for one supremely talented but incredibly insecure ballplayer.

Beyond that, I can't get past the simple fact that, if Alex Rodriguez really cared about winning, he would have stayed with the Yankees. How much money is enough? He needs to go to a much more forgiving market than this one, and the Mets need to fill the holes that sunk this team in September. With the money it would take to sign A-Rod, the Mets could significantly address two or three needs.

I don't care who gets the back pages the most in the local tabloids. I want to see my team celebrate a championship again before I die. Just how many championships has A-Rod's admittedly impressive skills contributed to?

This move has disaster written all over it. If I were the Mets, I'd pass.

About Mike: I was the original writer on this web site, actually its only writer for the first 15 months of existence. Although I am grateful for the excellent contributions of my fellow writers here, I have no plans of stepping back into strictly an editorial role. I started this thing in the first place because I love to write and I love the Mets, and blogging here keeps me somewhat sane. If you haven't had enough already, more bio info can be found here.

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Comments (28)

Mike, I almost always agree with your comments, but not this time. How can we not go after a guy who hit 54 homeruns and usually hits at least 40? The Mets need more offense, and I can see no reason why David Wright can't play the other hot corner, at lease he won't have to throw the ball, just catch it.

Dave V
Saratoga Springs

hi Mike, I'm really torn on this, its easy to say no for all those reasons , but we said no in 20001 and I think if we would have said yes then we would have been in the playoffs and deeper in the playoffs in "06" and "07". IKNOW ON PAPER it looks great and what a lineup, wow, but still something just don't fit. And I keep going back and forth with, should we or should'nt we sign A rod. Again on paper he would even make our pitching better with more run support. and its not just the money that would make my hand shake with signing on the dotted line. its Arod himself,if there was another F/A with those stats it would be a no brainer, its only money we keep the farm and get a cleanup hitter for maybe 10years but its that Arod struff that gets in the way. I think I would pass but he looks so good.300 50 hR 150 rbis I am really torn.

Here is my take for what it's worth (I have not commented here before although I do enjoy reading them.) A-rod is a lightning rod for media insanity. He is all of these negative things he is made out to be. Pre madonna, about the money, worried about his publice image etc. But his stats don't lie he is the most talented hitter in baseball. He would be a huge upgrade for their offense. There has been a lot of talk about moving Wright to first to make room for him but what if Wright played second? He is pretty good defensively in my opinion (except for the occasional throwing error) and it might suit him better. I think that what makes me tip the scale to say yes to the mets signing a-rod is this. And this is a rare thing. HE WANTS TO BE A MET! We were his first choice! He grew up a met fan. This is more than I can say for Carlos Beltran. Much much more!

It's ridiculous to go after a player who doesn't hit under pressure. Absolute insanity. That's the most important thing! Why do so few people get it?

You can't teach that kind of thing. Either you have it or you don't. It goes to the makeup of the person. You have players who consistently "under-perform" their talent level--like A-Rod, Armando Benitez, et al--players with enormous talent who spit the bit more often than not under pressure. Then you have players who perform better than their natural talent level under pressure. Um...Jeter comes to mind. And as much as I hate to say it, the Yankees had a lot of those types of players when they won all those championships.

And just one player of the wrong "type" affects the team enormously. Just look at the damage that Benitez did to the Mets. Countless wins--important games--turned into gut-wrenching defeats.

The people who want A-Rod the most will be the ones wanting his head on a platter when he inevitably starts failing again under pressure.

Fill our holes first, take the 30+ million a year and go get pitching, catcher and a 2nd baseman, that's young... If I remember correctly I thought we where going to make the playoffs but for some strange reason it vanishes into thin air. Pitching, pitching, pitching... we need it...What happen last season .. I called it Willie the soul snatcher... those guys look like they had no life left in them.....

Someone said Pay Rod has always wanted to be a met.. that is all a bunch of pull,, its all about the money....show me the money.... I love to have him if the price was right, but you have other holes that need to be filled just to get the season started. His demand back then where crazy,, I think his own concession stand, but I WANT TO BE A MET, His own Jet, Well he solved that issue but not on the Mets... We are about to probably see the next tier of baseball salaries unfold,, 300 to 400 million dollar contracts,This is just the start to things to come in the future., I'm not saying owners cannot afford it, it just going to get way to expensive to go see the game for the average Joe. unless you got the bling, bling... That's where his legacy will be, beside that maybe a home run record unless Jose C, has some real dirt on him then they will just add an * to his name.....

But patch the holes to get the season going , don't be surprised if Arod ends up in Philly or Atlanta, that just my hunch, no data to back it up...

Id' Pass.... See ya guy, enjoy your mob boss jet....

Ps. I'm not a disgruntled Yankee fan,, Just an middle age met fan...that watched the 2007 spirit of the met evaporate into thin air....


i have said it before (and posted it) and i'll say it again - heck, i'll shout it from the rooftops if i have to - i've even thought about trying to call mets management - no, no, a thousand times NO! i will seriously consider turning in my seasons tickets if they sign him - i do not want this guy on our ballclub...mike - you are completely correct - just tell me how we can make this point to management...

Couldn't agree more Mike. No one will ever question how great a player ARod is, or what his legacy in baseball can be. But I don't care about the legacy of 1 player. I care about seeing another ticker tape parade. And bringing ARod to the Mets will not only not help the cause, it will hurt the cause.

Yeah you hear people in Mets management come out with anonymous statements like "the money is not a problem." But it is a problem. This team needs pitching in the worst way. It needs it to win next year. It needs it to replace aging arms. It needs it to usher in a new era, in a new stadium with a consistent winning franchise. And if the Mets sign ARod, no matter what you may be hearing now, the magical pot of money they claim to have will suddenly disappear when it comes time to spend another 15-20 million dollars on quality arms.

What about the Mets history, their current situation, or their ownership makes anyone think they'll suddenly agree to become a team with a payroll in the 160-200 million dollar range within 2 years?? And that's what it will take to sign AROd and still keep this team competitive with good pitching.

You guys are crazy if you think the Mets are even in the running. A-Rod does not want to be in place where there is pressure to win (meaning no NY, Philly, or Boston).

He's off to Chicago where its OK to be a loser or to San Fran where personal stats are an acceptable alternative to winning.

For those who say take the $30 million and spend it on a young pitcher, catcher, and second baseman, who exactly would that be ? If there was a stellar free agent crop or if the Mets had plenty of excess to trade, I'd say, yes, go out and get 3 or 4 good players who will help the team more than A-Rod, but for $30 million a year, exactly what free agents are the Mets going to get - Carlos Silva, Yorvit Torrealba, Tadahito Iguchi, and maybe Brad Wilkerson ? If the Mets don't make significant positive additions and A-Rod signs with another contending NL team, the Mets won't make it to the World Series. Add A-Rod to the Mets and they become the favorites even with the rest of the team they have now.

Thank you Barry! Finally someone without a purely knee-jerk reaction. A-rod has some flaws and won't come cheap, but who doesn't, who isn't? The free agent crop this year will be much like the last few, one or two top tier players, usually on the edge of their decline phases and a bunch of second and third tier players who will get way over-paid. There simply isn't anyone in this years pool of free agents that would have nearly the impact of signing A-rod would. Okay A-rod hasn't been stellar in post seasons past, but there are plenty of players in all sports that have been given the all season no post season tag that end up shredding it up with one good series and everyone forgets the previous failures (think: elway & payton for two modern examples). The biggest thing most people seem to be forgetting ... we've got to actually get into the playoffs FIRST!!!!!

I say its time to give A-rod a call and see if he is interested. If he is, talk to David see if he's truely okay with giving up 3rd base. If he is then find out if a deal is tenable, if not move on with at least having tried this time.

Hilarious, Gene. I'm assuming you were upset when Armando Benitez left! I completely understand the concept of paying for a great player. I would do it in a second if I believed he was clutch, or could change into a clutch player. He won't. He has enough of a track record.

I was whole-heartedly in favor of paying Piazza all that money when we got him. He was already established as a clutch player. A-Rod has established just the opposite. Simply not worth it--especially having to move one of our all-star players for him!

No knee-jerk reaction here. Au contraire. A studied, sage recommendation from a long-time fan who only wants the best for his team.

seriously mike...

I generally agree with you on most counts.

But the best player of our generation... maybe of any generation... just became a free agent because he just walked away from the yankees. He grew up a met fan. David Wright has issues throwing to first. Great players are not becoming free agents anymore. We dont have a great farm.


For the next 6 - 10 years...

your big reason for not getting him is because the fans cant handle it?

"He will be Kaz Matsui, Victor Zambrano and Guillermo Mota rolled into one massive target. "

No it would not! Kaz, victor and Guillermo all suck. They all suck bad. (big ups to kaz on a solid postseason)

This is soooo different. Look at the lineup again (remember that we have alou this year again).

I'm another middle aged Mets fan not interested in A-rod. His ego, salary demands, and the mega distraction he is, are not healthy things for a team with some very questionable character traits to begin with. I've been a diehard Mets fan for decades and there's not a lot that makes me feel good about this organization right now. Character, team-first first players, and a manager with a clue are short in supply at Shea, and obtaining A-rod is sure to add to that for years to come.

And I am very concerned about these insane contracts and where they're heading and could head with an absurd 300 mil one. As it stands, it will be difficult enough getting into the new ballpark for years, but any fan and family not flowing in dough, stands no chance. Ultimately, we pay these ridiculous salaries, and let's not delude ourselves that it's someone else's money. Without us, the end users, there is no audience and revenue stream.

Since you mentioned Piazza ...

Piazza: Arod:
Avg: .242 .279
HR: 6 7
Runs: 14 21
RBI: 15 17
G: 32 39
Ab: 120 147
SLG: .458 .483
BB: 11 17
Hits: 29 41
OBP: .301 .373
OPS: .759 .856

those are cumulative post season numbers ...

Piazza's post-season numbers are surprising. But it still won't convince me that he wasn't clutch. I watched all the games he played in. Huge games during the season are not in the stats. Games against Atlanta; the game after 9/11. Also, he has had clutch hits in the playoffs, plenty. Can you say that about A-Rod? When you run down the list of memorable Piazza hits/HRs, do you think A-Rod in any way can match up?

There are no "Spotlight" stats. Even RISP doesn't really differentiate among big and small moments. Under the spotlight Piazza rose to the occasion countless times. So many times that it was noticeable to the average fan. For A-Rod, when the spotlight shines, he shrinks more often than not. Again, so frequently that it's quite noticeable to the average fan.

Weighing all that has been said and not being personal, I don't think A-Rod is the answer. Good pitching always beats good hitting. Ask Colorado, they were beasts in the playoffs, swept both series, and basically got silenced by Boston's pitching staff in the W.S., who by no accident rose to the challenge. The 2006 Mets more oft than not, buzzed through teams, until they met the Cards staff which out pitched the Mets staff. "Damn you Adam (bleeping) Wainwright!". I know there is not much out there available for 2008, but it's the pitching staff that needs revamping not the line-up so much. A-Rod had a lot of support in Skankville, some boppers and all, what did he help them win? I know his numbers are incredible and he is an awesome force, but the Mets would still need pitching to balance things out. 2007 saw an over taxed bullpen fall apart, staters barely going 5-6 innings and the playoff ship sail off into the Atlantic. I know that the game has evolved to more so to highlight offense, but I would like to see them raise that mound back to the 6 inches they took away and see what happens. Maybe this might level the playing field some. Maybe we might find out that it is not performance enhancing drugs, but the pitching angles and landing spots are what have driven the offensive numbers up instead. All in all A-Rod would be nice, but so many other issues are more pressing at this time. Thanks, but no thanks! Go get some pitching please!

Wow, tons of comments on this one...

Dave V. - I understand what you're saying about A-Rod, but I think he needs to get out of NY. Also, I don't think his impact on any team he has played for has been all that positive, despite the good numbers. As I said in the post, I know that he's a great player, but I think this is a disaster waiting to happen if they sign him.
Al - pretty much the same as I said above. I understand why Mets fans like you and Dave want him, but I think if he comes here and struggle it will be as ugly as it was with the Yankees when A-Rod didn't play well.
James - Thanks for weighing in. Good points all. I actually have no problem with moving Wright. Given his recurrent throwing problems, I think it is likely to happen some day.
Barry - I think you're on the money with your last sentence there. I suspect the same thing myself on who will be leading the boos when he doesn't come up big in important spots.
GT - I suspect you're right about the next tier of baseball salaries, not only with A-Rods contract, but also what Zito got last year.
Joyce - Maybe we should picket the Mets offices...
Salman - I agree that we need pitching more than another bat, but if I thought A-Rod was the kind of guy who would thrive under the pressure here I would probably be in favor of signing him any way. I don't think he is that guy.
Middle Relief - While I do think he'd rather get out of the spotlight, I don't think a player has Scott Boras for an agent if he is not chasing the last dollar.
Barry D. - But the question isn't just what they spend $30 million on this year, it's every year for the next decade. By the way, wasn't A-Rod supposed to make the Yankees win 3 or 4 more championships? That didn't work out so well.
Gene - Knee jerk reaction because we don't agree with you? Spare me your ego.
Barry - exactly
gbaked - A-Rod received more than his share of boos with the Yankees. Do you really believe the pressure goes down after opting out of his contract and coming here. I think it ratchets up big-time, and I don't think there are enough therapists in NYC to help him cope.
L. J. - with all of the changes they made to boost offense, this game is still about pitching right now.

Mike - I just cant get over the fact that you think we should not sign one of the best players because we as fans cant handle it and will drive him over the edge. We cant have nice things? Tell me its too much money, tell me its not wanting to move Wright... but we will boo him too much? He hits 50 home runs he will not be booed... period.

For those who say he isnt clutch: http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20071024&content_id=2280457&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb

I know its not everything, and it wont change some of your minds and its basically meaningless...

but perceptions can get out of whack. Everyone outside of metland think that LMillz is nothing but a thug, but those of us who have watched him know that while he is very confident, and has made some silly decisions, he is far from a thug. Arod has been getting a bad rap. He may not be as clutch as ortiz... but he isnt as bad as his reputation would let you believe.

On top of all of this... he grew up a met fan. Gotta show some love to the brotherhood. If we cant accept one of our own we should just pack it up now.

I didn't think he handled being in NY with Yankees very well at all, and think it will be as bad or worse with the Mets. I think paying him $30 million a year through age 43 is a huge gamble. I don't think his history is as a player that elevates a team that he comes to. What if he becomes injury-prone as Griffey did in Cincinnati? I don't like A-Rod here for a lot of reasons, none of which I will force you to agree with.

A-Rod just might take less money to be a Met in spite of Boras. He grew up as a Mets fan and that probably means something to him. Add to that the stick-it-to-the-Yankees aspect and Boras's bumbling in the Game 4 fiasco and Alex might say "Screw it, Scott. Let's go with Omar's offer."

He's used to the NY media, won't have to move, and Wright and Reyes would look up to him. Quite a departure from Jeter's snobbishness.

As far as the postseason goes, just get us there. He couldn't be any worse than Beltran staring at that Wainwright pitch.

Mark - as above, I understand the arguments in favor, but I still think it would be a mistake. I don't believe at all he would take less money to play here, but money isn't really the crux of my misgivings, anyway.

I also think bringing A-Rod here would be a mistake. He's a great player but I agree with Mike in that A-Rod has never really elevated any of the teams he's been on to the next level. The best that can be said for him in this regard is that he helped carry the Yankees to the playoffs this season. However, when you are paying a guy close to $35 million per year, it won't be enough to just get to the playoffs. If anyone thinks our fan base will be okay with A-Rod hitting 50HRs in the regular season but failing in the postseason, then that person wasn't at Shea on Opening Day in 2006 or during September 2007 when there were fans who turned on the team and/or certain players. The Mets will enter 2008 with the baggage of the collapse and bringing in A-Rod is likely to add only more baggage especially if he struggles early on. Some cynics have already claimed that A-Rod's history of choking in big spots would be great fit on a team that has already experienced its own choke job.

Next, I wouldn't read too much into A-Rod's past statements that he grew up as a Mets fan. Frankly, most of what he says strikes me as scripted and disingenous. In addition, if he really grew up as a Mets fan, then he wouldn't have forced Texas to trade him to the Yankees or stated how much he wanted to be a Yankee. Does this February 2007 statement ring a bell: "I want to be a Yankee and I understand my contract and I understand my options. My goal is to go in with Derek [Jeter] and Mo [Mariano Rivera] and open the new [Yankee] Stadium. It's pretty clear." Indeed, it's pretty clear that he will not take less money to go anywhere. If baseball were as simple as plugging a guy's stats into a lineup, I'd be all in favor of bringing A-Rod to the Mets. The problem is that his history as a ballplayer suggests that his teams have been unable to overcome the distraction and emotional baggage that he brings into the clubhouse.

OK, I’ve taken the time to write-up the pros and cons of getting A-Rod. Even though I am strongly against it, I admit there are some pluses.

1. Possibly the best all-around player in the game.
2. Monster offensive numbers that can carry a team.
3. Will draw fans to the stadium, and eyeballs to SNY which will somewhat off-set his huge contract.
4. Will help improve others in the line-up.

1. Has not proven to be a clutch hitter under pressure.
2. Has not helped any team he has been a part of go beyond where they were before they got him.
3. Fans will already be coming to the new stadium (Citi Field); it will be sold-out for years because all new ballparks do. So attendance will not really be any higher because we got A-Rod.
4. One of our all-star players must be moved to another position. It scares me to move Wright to 2nd base. You never know if he will adapt. You never know if he will be good enough defensively even if he does adapt. I also don’t want it affecting his offense. And I most certainly don’t want him injured turning the DP.
5. As everyone has been saying, pitching wins championships. The money spent (wasted?) on A-Rod could be spent on pitching. The Mets payroll will not be limitless. Yes, they’re getting money from new places (stadium naming rights, SNY, selling “bricks” in the new stadium), but it is still not limitless.

It just seems to me that the negatives far outweigh the positives.

OK guys, you've convinced me that signing A-Rod is a bad idea, but I still say the team that gets him will make it to the playoffs next year, and if it's a NL team, that's one less chance the Mets have. I'm open-minded. Let's see what Omar does, but I have to say that if the only additions are along the lines of a David Riske or Carlos Silva, I won't exactly be looking forward to next season. Find a way to get Johan Santana or another ace and another all-star caliber position player and I'll admit the money was better spent.

The only way I could stomach A-rod as a Met is if he agreed to play 1B. IMHO, its not worth screwing David Wright around with a position change.

Think outside the box. Free agency is not the only way to improve the team. Ronny Paulino, Mike Napoli, Jeff Mathis, Chris Snyder, and Kelly Shoppach are victims of catching logjams in their respective cities and will be available for cheaper than normal (the Mets probably won't have to part with a top-7 prospect). Carlos Silva would be a great 200-inning anchor to the rotation while Pelfrey and Humber get full-season chances to shine. Pedro and El Duque are injury risks and will need sporadic rest to effectively continue their seasons. At second base, we don't need an All-Star at every position. We have two lefties (Gotay and Anderson) and a righty (Easley) capable of making a start, and each mashed the pitching of opposite handedness in the regular season. They can all bat 8th just fine.

Don't be myopic about the implications of A-Rod's contract. $30 million is too much for one player. You may not need to pay other guys now, but there will be prospects down the road who you will need to extend and free-agent veterans to plug mid-sized holes in the roster. Payroll flexibility is very important. Also, A-Rod is due for a decline both offensively and defensively, and for half of a 10-year contract (or maybe more), he'll be a huge liability.

Just concede that it isn't worth it. If the Mets' young pitching pans out, they can steamroll their way to a World Series, even with the lineup totally unchanged. Don't count out Delgado having a bounce-back season, either; he may be 36, but he was injured this year and had a child, which caused him to miss all of Spring Training and have a horrible start to the season.

Great post mike: Its been along time since anything sparked so much discussion.

1. Personally, I'd used the Arod smokescreen as cover while i root up some pitching. As glavine walks away I am inclined to target a strong #2 guy. Plus I think Maine and ollie should improve (overall) next yr. Remember they pitched a full (ML)season in 2007 for the first time (I think Ollie had one full season (2004)) as a starter.

2. Rev: I have been outspoken as a millz advocate. I have previously seen the Media run Mets prospects out of town before (in one way or another)too many times. In early (2004) i think the vibe was Kaz's arm will fall off because of his pitching action- trade him...Now the same is being said of Linecum.

50 Homeruns
150 RBI's
and an OBP in the range of .422
Some of that production HAS to be enough to please the fans, right?
Some of that, even by luck or chance has to land in the "clutch" department, right?
If not then maybe there's something wrong with the media and the fans and not him.

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