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Rick Carpiniello and Sam Borden debate the the hottest topics in sports

Question #167: Are the Yankees in big trouble with A-Rod out?


Many of you know that I occasionally like to consider wagering propositions and enjoy the odd game of cards. So, I would LOVE to know what kind of odds you could have gotten a month ago on the starting third baseman in the first game at the new Yankee Stadium being CODY RANSOM. Anyone who had that one is living in a much, much nicer house than me, that’s for sure.

On a more serious note, the decision for A-Rod to have his hip surgery today has created several new realities for the Yanks starting with the idea that they’ll now have a career minor-leaguer playing third base for the foreseeable future. It also includes the development that Mark Teixeira suddenly becomes the featured (and, in many ways, singular) super-power bat in the lineup. Instead of A-Rod hitting behind him, suddenly he’s got Hideki Matsui (probably) backing him. That’s a big change.

The Yankees have had long layoffs for stars in the past; Derek Jeter missed six weeks with a busted shoulder in 2003 and the Yankees went to the World Series that year. Already, Jeter has talked about how the Yankees are far from a one-man show and will be fine without A-Rod. But will they?

Here’s my question: How does the loss of A-Rod – which is expected to last say, until early late-April/early-May) change your expectations for the Yanks? Will they start slow but come on after he gets back? Struggle early and rebound? Or just skate on through without a hiccup?

Give me your thoughts and I’ll be back later with my own predictions.


 If you take A-Rod out of the lineup for three or four weeks during the season, I think the Yankees could and would survive it. But to have him out at the start, well, I was just figuring that he might go ballistic early in the season and put the team on his back for a while. Now he won’t.

But these Yankees, even with their all-star, bank-bailout-sized payroll, have question marks everywhere. Except in the rotation. I still question A.J. Burnett and whether he can possibly be worth the riches the Yankees bestowed upon him, but even if he’s just OK, the rotation is solid. And if they pitch the way they should pitch, the Yankees ought to be able to survive the loss of any position player for a while—even those performance-enhanced hitters.

That said, the A-Rod hole becomes wider and deeper if Jorge Posada or Hideki Matsui have a setback, or if the Yankees have a center field platoon hitting .235, or if Robinson Cano has another nose-dive season. I don’t think Cano will repeat last year, but all or any of the other things can happen, and if that means that Jose Molina, Brett Gardner and Cody Ransom are all in the lineup at the same time, then the pitchers will have to be even better than advertised.

This entry was posted on Monday, March 9th, 2009 at 9:13 am by Sam Borden. |
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One Response to “Question #167: Are the Yankees in big trouble with A-Rod out?”

  1. sunny615

    The loss of arod puts a stress on the offense, that’s for sure, but are they a 3rd place team without him? I don’t think so. But that’s predicated on the successful return of Matsui and Posada and all they’re free agent acquisitions this off-season come as advertised. By the time arod returns, I see the Yanks sitting in second (if only by a half a game). They were champions without the big names (Brosius… I mean – c’mon)... and they have the ability to be productive without him. Teams will definitely approach the Yankees differently without arod in the lineup, but it’s not like he hit a homer every 5th at bat (with the possible exception of 2007). If Gardner makes the team and Damon and Jeter stay healthy (stop leaning over the plate Jeter!), they’ll be ranged toward a more hit and run type offense than a mash and bash type. They’ll be more like the team of the 90’s than the team of the new century. And given both of their records in the post season… who’s to say that that’s a bad thing?

    This team will do fine.
    Altho if not, I hear there’s a certain A that’s not too happy. Just throwin’ it out there…

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Rick Carpiniello and Sam Borden debate the hottest topics in sports.


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About the author
Sam BordenSam Borden grew up in Larchmont, graduated from Mamaroneck High School and has spent all 29 years of his life following the local sports scene. The drama of sports has always fascinated him, and his columns are designed to take a side or tell a story. The best days are the ones where he gets to do both.
Rick CarpinielloRick Carpiniello grew up in lower Westchester and began working in The Journal News' sports department (back when it was The Reporter Dispatch and eight other newspapers) in October of 1977 after a year of covering high school sports as a stringer. For more than 20 years he covered the New York Rangers and the National Hockey League. Carpiniello has been writing columns on everything from local sports to the big leagues since 2002.