ARod Here Again? The Tragedy Of Howard LincolnOctober 20th, 2012 by terrybenish
It has been hard not to notice all the noise that has come from Joe Girardi, channeling Billy Martin, throwing Alex Rodriguez under the bus during the Yankees dismal team wide collapse against the Detroit Tigers. Girardi’s actions done to deflect focus on his accountability for the total team collapse, while initially bringing heat upon ARod have since reflected back upon himself. While some blowhards in middle management for the Yankees, along with makeup artists like Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports, suggested there were imminent trades brewing sending ARod to the Marlins or Los Angeles, there is nothing to that as ARod has ten and five rights and the Yankees owe him $100 million over five years.
By month ARod’s OPS this year is as follows:
8.12 DNP broken hand courtesy of Felix Hernandez
One obvious remark to make is that missing a month and half due to the hbp by Felix and coming back perhaps early, a team first kind of move, really blew up in his face. We should talk about ARod and team kind of things, leaving money out of the discussion. When he was traded to the Yankees Alex Rodriguez was regarded as the greatest shortstop in the history of the game, best offensive shortstop and a very good defensive shortstops. Best shortstop in baseball at the time of the trade.
So Joe Torre moves him to third base instead of moving Jeter to second base and allowing Arod to play short stop. Over time it has been born out and obvious that Torre disliked ARod before his arrival. The decision to move him to third was subjective and based on Jeter’s fan favoritism and Torre’s mendacity. It was not to better the team.
ARod said nothing and accepted it for the betterment of the team. It is not clear that he should have done so. But he did in the interest of the team. Nobody has suggested that Jeter’s ego got in the way of the team as it should have been and ARod’s reward has been to be continually slammed and reviled in the press.
Earlier this week Larry Stone posted a piece about ARod’s potential return to Seattle. It had a headline like this, “Just for the record: A big, fat no on an A-Rod return”.
Lots of hand waving in the article but we get down to where the rubber hits the road and Stone quotes Howard Lincoln contrasting Griffey with ARod, saying they’re both great players but Griffey is a great person.
They say time has a way of altering things and I have nothing negative to say about either player, but Lincoln’s recall of Griffey and ARod’s circumstances of leaving the Mariners diverges greatly with what actually transpired.
Griffey approached his free agency in the winter of 2000 and told the Mariners that he would only accept a trade to Cincinnati. Trade was made for Mike Cameron, Brett Tomko and bodies. While I regard Mike Cameron has a wonderful player it was a very one sided deal at the time of the trade.
At the end of the 2000 season ARod was granted free agency and signed with Texas whose owner Tom Hicks out bid Lincoln and the Mariners. Lincoln was volatile in his anger at the turn of events. He felt that Scott Boras had used the Mariners as a stalking horse against Hicks who was vilified as a village idiot. The most money that the Mariners ever paid ARod was $4.4 a year. Ultimately Hicks paid ARod $22 million a year, which is only $4 million more than the Mariners paid Ichiro. Ichiro’s career OPS is .784 and ARod’s career OPS is .945.
Most players with a career OPS of .784 struggle to stay in baseball let alone make rock star salaries. That Ichiro’s numbers have plummeted the past three seasons have pulled down his career OPS. But since 2002 Ichiro has had eleven seasons, eight of those have been sub-.800 OPS performances. To pay Ichiro that huge money and not retain ARod for nearly neighborhood money suggests once again that Lincoln has no business running a baseball team. This mess is all at his feet. The fans have reviled ARod for spurning them instead of Texas. The truth of the matter is that Howard chickened out.
Going back to Stone’s piece, it suggests that Lincoln wants to deflect scrutiny on his lameness back to ARod and perhaps understands his perfidy and ineptness in a better perspective.
So the scorecard says that Lincoln dumped three hall of fame players in Griffey, Rodriguez and Randy Johnson. That really is the bottom line.
One thing that Stone, Lincoln and Armstrong share is a background at the University of California. It suggests that Stone and Lincoln share a mindset.
There has been a bunch of traffic on the blogs this week about the necessity to spend or not to compete with Geoff Baker refuting the presence of cheap teams last year with high spenders this year, even bending the definition of what is a big spending team and what is not.
The argument is specious. The teams that win are the teams that are able to put a roster together of very good players that fit in a lineup that does all the things a winning team should do, score runs and prevent runs behind good pitching. Spending a lot is a way to do that, if you can get good players to come to your city.
The Mariners HAVE spent some money over the last ten years, but it has not brought good players here. While Tampa Bay year after year has drafted and signed very good players and keeps being competitive while spending nothing at all.
Dumping those three great players and overpaying an average to good player exorbitantly suggests to agents and players that this team is not a prime choice to land as a free agent. That must be overcome.
All of this is the tragedy of Howard Lincoln and it rests over the team like a curse.