Posts Tagged ‘September Call-Ups’

I think one of the irrefutable facts from this Yankees season is that Alex Rodriguez is aging – painfully so for Yankees fans. It’s become obvious that the All-Star third baseman would perform at a higher level if he could get a day off every week. The skills are still there, but take it from somebody who crossed the age 35 threshold a while ago: the body just simply doesn’t recover at 35 the same way it did when you’re 25, or even 30. The little aches become more urgent, the bones creak a bit more, the tendons aren’t quite as flexible. As anyone who’s felt fatigued can attest, when the tired reaction time is lengthened. The mind may be willing, but the body just can’t respond the same way it does when you’re feeling fresh. Not such a big deal if you’re a desk jockey – but a millisecond makes a big difference when swinging at major league pitching. Fortunately for the Yanks, A-Rod is a gamer and will never use not feeling 100% for less than 125% results. Unfortunately for the Yanks, A-Rod is a gamer and will never use not feeling 100% for less than 125% results. It’s up to the manager to say, “it’s time for a blow.” 

Joe Girardi isn’t an idiot (although sometimes, his game decisions leave me wondering) and he surely realizes that A-Rod could use some time to rest. His problem with giving A-Rod rest is there is no substitute in the South Bronx for winning and Girardi doesn’t have anyone on his bench who even comes close to matching A-Rod’s production. The only infield reserve at the moment is Ramiro Pena, and the drop-off in production between he and A-Rod is ridiculous. Here’s how their seasons would look if each received the same number of plate appearances, over all 162 games this year: 

A-Rod 83 164 42 3 26 112 68 .264 .335 .467 117
Pena 90 132 7 0 0 125 28 .204 .242 .215 27

In short, even in a down year, A-Rod’s production so far outstrips that of Pena’s that comparing the two isn’t really any comparison at all. More than that, Pena simply shouldn’t scare any pitcher in the majors, while A-Rod is always a threat. Replacing A-Rod in the line-up with Pena doesn’t just reduce the Yankees chances of winning; it virtually eliminates them.

A reserve infielder who at least carried a league-average bat was on Brian Cashman‘s wish list this trade season and he may still find one via the waiver wire. But then again, the Yankees may need to look no further than Scranton-Wilkes Barre to find a solution. Ladies and gentlemen, Brandon Laird may be wearing the big club’s pinstripes sooner than anyone thought at the beginning of the year. The 22 year old third baseman has posted a .300/.361/.547 slash line in 109 games this season, mostly with AA Trenton, with an impressive HR ratio of 16.7. In his first action at AAA, he has homered twice and is slugging an insane 1.750. 

At this point, I’d say he will definitely be part of the September call-ups. But if he keeps raking like this, it may not be far-fetched to see the Yankee’s bring him up before August 31st, making him eligible for the post-season roster. In any event, while all eyes have been focused on Jesus Montero and Austin Romine it may not be a bad idea to peek in on Laird’s progress over the next 2-3 weeks. 


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