Yesterday, Bud Selig and the MLB decided to suspend Alex Rodriguez through the 2014 season, which ends up to be 211 games! The suspension will take place on Thursday and Rodriguez will appeal so he will most likely continue to play in a Yankees uniform until the appeal process is over. Most people believe that Arod and his plethora of expensive lawyers will help him cut down his suspension to a mere 80 or 90 games. In my opinion, they are right. Alex Rodriguez is being treated differently than all the other players involved with this scandal. Ryan Braun, who won his PED appeal process last season, has only received a 65 game suspension this year for being caught with PEDs again. Other players like Jhonny Peralta and Nelson Cruz have only received 50 game suspensions and will be eligibile to play in the playoffs if their respective teams make the race. So, if these “first time offenders” are only receiving 50 game suspensions then why isn’t Arod? Can it be because the MLB has found so much evidence against him that the suspension has to be lengthy? Or could is be that the MLB is just tired of Arod disrespecting the game? I really couldn’t tell ya, but what I can tell you is that this suspension will be cut down and cut down majorly. I simply cannot see how the MLB can suspend a first time offender for 211 games when the drug policy says the suspension should only be 50.
Two days ago, in a walk off win against the AL East Leading Tampa Bay Rays, Derek Jeter returned to the Yankees lineup. In his first at-bat since going back on the DL with a Quad Strain, he blasted a homer to right center and sent the New York crowd into a frenzy. Jeter went 2-4 with an RBI and 2 runs scored in the game. Another familiar face also had a great game, Alfonso Soriano. In his 3rd game back in pinstripes Soriano went 4-5. He hit a homerun and had 3 RBI in the game. Oh yeah, he also hit a walkoff single to give the Yankees a 6-5 win. Both of these players gave the Yankees lineup a huge boost. The Captain energized the team by giving them some much needed power by hitting the first homerun by a right handed batter since June 25. Soriano hit with runners in scoring position and was able to give the Yankees the lead in clutch situations. Having Soriano and Jeter in the lineup mixes things up a bit. It gives the lineup depth and also a couple of very good right handed batters that can do some major damage. In my opinion, getting these two players back will prove to be a major turning point in the Yankees season. I believe they will be the spark that the Bomber’s offense needs and needs desperatley. As of now the Yankees are 7.5 games back of the AL East Division lead and 2.5 games back of the Wild Card spot. If these two players can provide some offense and if Curtis Granderson can come back and perform the Yankees still have a chance to get that Wild Card spot or even win the division. I guess we will have to see how it all works out.
Can it be? Is it even possible? Can the most dominant franchise in sports be due for sub-par season? As the season creeps closer and closer the one looming question in the Big Apple is; Are the New York Yankees in serious trouble? From the looks of it, most sports analysts and fans would say the Yankees are a long shot for making the playoffs. The AL East is a powerhouse division this season and in my opinion is the hardest division in Major League Baseball. The Blue Jays have added a few key pieces to their line up in Jose Reyes and Melky Cabrera to go along with Jose Bautista and young prospect Brett Lawrie. They have also rekindled their pitching staff by acquiring 2012 NL Cy Young Winner R.A Dickey, Mark Buehrle, and Josh Johnson. Adding players like these to any roster would make a team a hell of alot better. Unlike the Blue Jays, the Orioles did not make a lot of moves this off season. They still have the same solid core that carried them last season, Mark Reynolds, Adam Jones, and Matt Wieters. They also have a young star on the rise in Manny Machado. Oh yeah, they also have a great coaching staff lead by Manager Buck Showalter. The Rays are also another great team in the division, they have a veteran lineup and a great pitching staff lead by ace David Price. If Evan Longoria can stay healthy this team has the potential to go very deep into the playoffs.
Now, I know what your thinking…With a division like that the Yankees must be doomed right? Well that is where you are wrong. Even though the Yanks have been riddled with injuries and weren’t exactly active in free agency I still believe they have a chance. The injuries they have now are not season ending so Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson should be back by the middle of May. Derek Jeters injury appears to be minor so even though he might be on the DL for Opening Day he should be ready to go in a week or two. So in my opinion, the Bombers injuries aren’t that big of a deal.
Believe it or not, with all the injuries the Yanks have suffered this spring, they actually have a couple stars returning from injury and they are Mariano Rivera and Brett Gardner. These two pieces will give the Yankees a major boost in defense. Rivera will continue to close out games and Gardner will cover a lot of ground in the outfield. He may even give a boost on offense with his lightning speed.
The offense will also get a huge boost from Ichiro Suzuki who hit .300 while only playing half the season with the Bombers in 2012. He can also play the field well and I think with him on the field the fans will not miss Nick Swisher at all. Robinson Cano is looking to have an MVP like season this year. He is looking for a contract and it seems like he is in the zone after batting over .400 in the World Baseball Classic. He was also named tournament MVP and lead the Dominican to the title. Derek Jeter is also looking to have a great season. After shutting up all the haters last year by batting .316, people are expecting him to have another phenomenal season.
The pitching staff is looking to be a bright spot for the Yankees this year with returning starters in C.C Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, and Hiroki Kuroda. The bullpen will also be solid with all star setup man David Robertson.
So as you can see, I certainly don’t believe the Yankees are going to be in trouble this season. Yes their division is going to be amazing and yes they have a ton of injuries but they have what no other team in the division has and that is championship pedigree. They know how to win when it really matters and they are hungry to quiet all the doubters. If they really set their mind to it they could make the playoffs easily or even win the AL East!
When you think of Derek Jeter, do you think of steroids? I know I certainly don’t. When I think of Derek Jeter I think of gold gloves, big hits, and world series rings, but due to Jeter’s recent success at the plate, some sports analysts like Skip Bayless are actually accusing him of using steroids, or Human Growth Hormone. This season Jeter is batting .324 with 13 homeruns and 43 RBI. These numbers are an improvement from last season when he batted .297 with 6 homeruns and 61 RBI, but are they really that much of an improvement to accuse him of using steroids? Not at all in my opinion. Jose Bautista had never hit more then 16 homeruns before he belted 54 homers in 2010, and no body said he was on steroids, they just said he improved his swing, Jeter has done the same thing. Before Derek had hit his 3000th hit in 2011, he was batting in the low .200s. He went on the disabled list, worked on his swing with hitting coach Kevin Long, and when he came back he batted over .300 and has been on a complete tear since. Derek Jeter can still hit, and can still play the field he definitely doesn’t need steroids to play well in the MLB.
Last night Alex Rodriguez was taken out of the game when he was hit by a pitch thrown by Seattle Mariner, Felix Hernandez. He was one of three Yankee batters who were hit by a pitch. Rodriguez has sustained a broken hand and is expected to miss 6-8 weeks. He isn’t having his best season, but this injury will surely hurt the Yankees.