You Are Here > Baseball-Reference.com > Bullpen > Alex Rodríguez - BR Bullpen

Alex Rodríguez

From BR Bullpen

Jump to: navigation, search
Rodriguezalex.jpg

Alexander Emmanuel Rodríguez
(A-Rod)

BR page

Contents

[edit] Biographical Information

Alex Rodriguez, often called A-Rod, is one of the biggest stars in major league baseball. Having played his first Major League game at age 18, he has established himself as one of the game's best players, having won three MVP awards and passing several important career milestones, including 600 career home runs and 1,500 RBI.

He is the only person to play major league baseball at age 18 since the 1970s.

[edit] Early Life and Minor League Career

Rodriguez was born in New York City to a Dominican couple, Victor Martinez and Lourdes Navarro. The family moved to the Dominican Republic and then to Miami, Florida when Alex was quite young, and he grew up in Miami. He was a star player on the Westminster Christian High School baseball team, and was selected to play for the U.S. in the 1992 World Junior Championship, where he led the team with 16 RBI, scored 15 runs, hit .264 and slugged .509 as the team won Silver.

A-Rod was drafted by the Seattle Mariners as the # 1 pick in the 1993 amateur draft after earning first team prep All-American honors and leading his high school team to a national #1 ranking. His school record for home runs was later tied by J.P. Arencibia in 2004.

In his first year in the minors in 1994, he went from Single A to AA to AAA ball in the same season, hitting over .300 with power at two of the three stops. He spent about half of 1995 in Triple A ball at Tacoma of the PCL, hitting .360 with a .654 slugging percentage.

[edit] Major League Career

Rodriguez made his Major League debut with the Seattle Mariners on July 8, 1994 at Boston, becoming the only player to reach the majors at age 18 since the 1970s. He spent less that a month with the Mariners that season, and split time in 1995 between the Mariners and their AAA team in Tacoma. In 1996 he spent only two games with Tacoma, and since then has been in the majors full time. He remained with the Mariners through the 2000 season, making three All Star teams and establishing himself as one of the game's best shortstops and one of its premier offensive players.

Prior to the 2001 season, A-Rod signed a 10 year/$252 million contract with the Texas Rangers that made him baseball's highest-paid player. He continued to perform at the highest level with the Rangers, leading the league in home runs all three years and winning his first MVP award in 2003.

Alex Rodriguez, NYY uniform walking.jpg
On February 16, 2004 Rodriguez was traded to the New York Yankees for Alfonso Soriano and a player to be named later (Joaquin Arias). Although he had made his reputation as one of greatest shortstops of his generation, he deferred to Yankee captain (and shortstop) Derek Jeter and accepted a move to third base with the Yankees even though he had won two Gold Gloves as a shortstop while Jeter had won none. While playing in New York he has won two additional MVP awards.

In 2005 he broke the Yankees' single-season record for home runs by a right-handed hitter, held for more than 50 years by all-time Yankee great Joe DiMaggio. In April 2007, he tied a record by hitting 12 home runs in his first 15 games.

Despite continuing to achieve extraordinary success in the regular season, A-Rod's postseason performance was disappointing to his fans, batting .279 and slugging .483 with seven home runs in ten postseason series. He gained some measure of infamy during the 2004 ALCS against Boston when he "karate chopped" Boston pitcher Bronson Arroyo, who was tagging him out at first base.

On October 28, 2007, Rodriguez opted out of the 10 year/$252 million deal, thus becoming a free agent. In November he re-signed with the Yankees after hearing advice from his friend Warren Buffett, the famous billionaire investor. Agent Scott Boras had encouraged him to ask for much more on the free agent market but Rodriguez did not heed his advice.

On September 3, 2008, a home run he hit to left field off Troy Percival became the first play to be reviewed under MLB's new instant replay rule; Brian Runge's home run call was upheld upon review. He missed the beginning of the 2009 season because of hip surgery, but on August 7, he became the 9th player in major league history to hit at least 20 home runs in every year in a decade, and the first from the 2000s. He finished the year with 30 homers and 100 RBI, although his batting average slipped to .286, his lowest since 1999. To reach those totals, he had a great finale game on October 4th, when he hit a pair of homers and drove in 7 runs in a 10-run 6th inning against the Tampa Bay Rays; the 7 RBI were an American League record, although they fell short by 1 of Fernando Tatis' major league record of 8 RBI in a single inning. That season, he put to rest criticisms about his lack of hitting in the postseason, as he carried the Yankee offense on his shoulders in the first two rounds of the playoffs: he went 5 for 11 with 2 home runs and 6 RBI in the ALDS against the Minnesota Twins, then was 9 for 21 with 2 doubles, 3 homers and 6 RBI in the ALCS against the Los Angeles Angels. He was not as scorching in the World Series, but still contributed 3 doubles, a home run and another 6 RBI in the Yankees' defeat of the Philadelphia Phillies.

A-Rod's quest for 600 homers came true on August 4, 2010 off a 2-0 cutter from Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Shaun Marcum at New Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. He had taken 10 days to hit the milestone homer, but he hit it on the three-year anniversary of his 500th long ball. The constant attention seemed to affect him; it did not help that MLB had decided to introduce specially-numbered baseballs to mark the occasion, with the result that the game was interrupted every time he stepped to the plate in order to change the baseballs, bringing even more attention to his ongoing slump.

Rodriguez's 2011 season was interrupted by surgery on his right knee at the All-Star break; he was hitting .295 with 13 homers and 52 RBI in 80 games at the time and only returned to the line-up on August 21st. While on the disabled list in August, Rodriguez was involved in another off-field controversy. Stories came out that he had participated in illegal high-stakes poker games where drugs were present and fights may have occurred. MLB decided to investigate the allegations, based on its policy dating back to the Black Sox Scandal to eradicate any potential ties with gambling, and given that it had already warned A-Rod about staying away from such occasions after he was spotted at a poker parlor in New York in 2005. A-Rod vehemently denied the accusations, but a day after his return to the line-up, the New York Post published a story saying he had been spotted the previous week at a high-stakes poker game at the Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut. He finished the season with the worst numbers of his career - 16 homers and 62 RBI, with a .276 BA in 99 games and was only 2 for 18 in the ALDS as the Yankees were upset by the Detroit Tigers. After the season, on the advice of his friend, NBA superstar Kobe Bryant, he went to Germany for experimental treatment on his right knee. Orthokine therapy involves taking blood from his arm, spinning it in a centrifuge, and then re-injecting it in the area of concern.

The first half of the 2012 season was the healthiest in years for A-Rod, as he played in 94 of the team's first 97 games. However, his production was way down, as he had a .274 batting average, 15 homers and 44 RBI at that point, while batting in the middle of the batting order for a first-place team. He was left off the All-Star team, then on July 24th suffered a freak injury when a change-up by Seattle's Felix Hernandez broke a bone in his left hand, sending him to the disabled list. It capped a bad day for Rodriguez, who had become the 5th player to reach 2,000 career strikeouts earlier in the contest. He was out for six weeks altogether, only returning to the line-up on September 3rd. He finished the season with a .272 average in 122 games, 18 homers and 57 RBI; his RBI total was his lowest since his teenage years. He slumped badly in the ALDS, as the Yankees were involved in a closely-played five-game series with the Baltimore Orioles. He was only 2 for 16, and was benched at two key moments, giving way to pinch-hitter Raul Ibanez with the Yankees down by one run in the 9th inning of Game 3 - Ibanez hit a dramatic game-tying homer - and being left on the bench in favor of Eric Chavez in the decisive Game 5. After going 1 for 7 in the first two games of the ALCS - both losses at home to the Detroit Tigers -, he was benched again for Game 3. What made things worse was that he had been seen flirting with female fans in the stands during Game 1, which the Yankees lost in extra innings. By then, he was the favorite target of boo-birds at New Yankee Stadium. The benchings and the poor play led to speculation that the Yankees may look to trade him in the off-season, with the Miami Marlins being mentioned as a possible destination - although the Yankees would need to eat a large portion of his huge contract to make such a trade happen.

No trade happened in the early days of the 2012-2013 off-season, and then more bad news hit on December 3rd when it was announced that Rodriguez had a hip tear and would need to undergo surgery on January 16th, which was likely to sideline him for the first half of the 2013 season at a minimum. It was the worst possible news for the Yankees, as they remained on the hook for his salary, needed to find a short-term replacement at third base, and had no guarantee that he would be a productive hitter when he returned. They signed veteran 3B Kevin Youkilis to a one-year contract a few days later to ensure they would at least have a major league-caliber hitter to play the hot corner. Indeed, a few days after the surgery, GM Brian Cashman stated publicly that there was a chance A-Rod would miss the entire season "because (of) the serious nature of the surgery and the condition that he's trying to recover from". If things weren't bad enough for him, his name turned up in another PED-related matter, the Biogenesis Laboratories affair, at the end of that month, prompting more speculation of an early retirement. This was immediately denied by persons close to him who added that Alex was "working diligently on his rehabilitation and [...] looking forward to getting back on the field as soon as possible". It then emerged that the Yankees were not so eager to see him return to action: on June 26th, he announced that he had received clearance from doctors to start playing ball again. That did not go well with Cashman, who reacted by stating "Alex should just shut the (expletive) up. That's it. I'm going to call Alex now", fueling speculation that the Yankees had unsuccessfully tried to convince A-Rod to call it a career in order for them to cash in the insurance on his huge contract, and that they were not pleased at all that he was planning on playing again. Instead, Alex began a rehabilitation assignment with the Class A Charleston RiverDogs on July 2nd. Just after the All-Star break, the Yankees announced he would be back in New York's line-up on July 22nd. But plans changed a day before he was set to return, as he went down again with a left quadriceps strain, delaying his return until at least the end of July. The injury report came out of the blue, and led to more speculation that the Yankees simply did not want to see A-Rod suit up again, even though in his absence the team's fill-in third basemen had posted the worst OPS in the majors at the position. Indeed, A-Rod claimed he was not injured and went back to New York to seek a second opinion to buttress his claim. Physician Michael L. Gross stated publicly two days later: "To be perfectly honest, I don't see any sort of injury there," hinting that the Yankees were trying to commit insurance fraud. Cashman then gave the soap opera another twist by stating that A-Rod's going to an outside specialist constituted a violation of his contract.

While this was going on, the Biogenesis scandal was hitting full steam, and Rodriguez was sent for another rehabilitation stint, this time with the AA Trenton Thunder, starting on August 2nd. He got some attention focused on his playing for a change by hitting a long two-run homer off Jesse Biddle in his first game. He finally returned to the Yankees line-up on August 5th, which was ironically the day MLB announced he was being suspended for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal. Because A-Rod immediately announced he was appealing the suspension, he was able to play that same time against the Chicago White Sox; he was booed mercilessly as he went 1 for 4 in an 8-1 Yankees loss. He finally received some ink for baseball reasons on August 11th when he hit his first homer of the year off Justin Verlander of the Tigers; the accompanying RBI was number 1,951 for Alex, moving him past Stan Musial into 5th place on the all-time list. On August 18th, he was hit by a pitch from Ryan Dempster in the 2nd inning of a game against the Red Sox in what was clearly seen as a gesture of displeasure with his involvement with PEDs; Rodriguez replied by hitting a homer in the 6th. On September 20th, he became the all-time leader for grand slams, passing former Yankee great Lou Gehrig. He ended his season a few games early, missing the Yankees' last series because of soreness in his legs. In 44 games, he had hit .244 with 7 homers and 19 RBIs. He then focused on the appeal of his suspension, as the hearings on the matter were scheduled to start on September 30th at MLB's offices in New York.

However more soap opera followed shortly after the season ended, when Rodriguez filed a lawsuit against Commissioner Bud Selig and other MLB officials, accusing them of engaging in a "witch hunt" against him. After keeping relatively quiet during the postseason, the day after the 2013 World Series ended he resumed exchanging barbs in the media, through his lawyers, with MLB counsel Rob Manfred. His lawyer stated that Manfred "persistently attacks Alex's character with baseless, cowardly allegations", while Manfred replied that "Mr. Rodriguez's use of PEDs was longer and more pervasive than any other player, and when this process is complete, the facts will prove that it is Mr. Rodriguez and his representatives who have engaged in ongoing, gross misconduct." On November 20th, he stormed out of the hearings with arbitrator Fredric Horowitz in New York City, calling the whole process "abusive". He was expressing his displeasure because Horowitz had refused to force Commissioner Selig to testify. His lawyers then amended his statement of claim, adding Selig's refusal to appear at the hearing as another ground for grievance. Horowitz issued his ruling on January 11, 2014, reducing the suspension from 211 games to 162, or the full 2014 season and postseason. On January 13th, Rodriguez filed a lawsuit in federal court in Manhattan against MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association seeking to have the suspension overturned. However, in a major turnaround,he decided to drop the lawsuit on February 7th, in order to serve his suspension and attempt a comeback in 2015; he also decided not to attend spring training, even though he would have been allowed to, as his presence would have been a huge distraction for the Yankees while serving little athletic purpose.

[edit] Statistical Markers and Notes

Although a huge star, Alex Rodriguez's highest single-season Adjusted OPS to date is 176 in 2007, which places him only 211th (tied with 18 others) among season marks.

While universally regarded as one of the best players in baseball, it is interesting to note that both teams that he has left have performed better the first year after he departed than they did during his final season with them. He has however played regularly in the postseason, contrary to the idea that circulated at one point that his offensive production was somehow a detriment to his teams' success.

He reached the 400 home run level at the age of 30, a rare achievement, then became the youngest player to hit 500 home runs when he connected off Kyle Davies of the Kansas City Royals on August 4, 2007; Jimmie Foxx had been the fastest to 500 HR before Rodriguez. He also became the third player to reach the 500 plateau as a Yankee, after Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle. He was still the youngest to do so when he hit number 600 in 2010, but injuries began to slow down his progression up the all-time ladder at that point.

He is one of only four 40/40 players in Major League Baseball history (i.e. hitting 40 or more home runs and stealing 40 or more bases in a season), along with Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds and Alfonso Soriano.

As a mark of how extraordinary a player A-Rod is, the similarity scores method shows virtually no player similar to him. No player has a score as high as 800 out of 1000, the highest being Manny Ramirez at 799. Eight of the ten players on the list at his age are Hall of Famers, and the other two (Ken Griffey and Sammy Sosa) were huge stars who stand an excellent chance of election.

On June 12, 2012, Alex tied a mark held by Lou Gehrig when he hit the 23rd grand slam of his career, off the Atlanta Braves' Jonny Venters in the 8th inning of a 6-4 Yankees win. He passed Gehrig with his 24th grand slam on September 20, 2013, in the 7th inning, off George Kontos of the San Francisco Giants, giving the Yankees a 5-1 win.

Rodriguez had held the record for signing the largest contract in major league history starting with his 2001 deal with the Texas Rangers, which was worth $252 million over 10 years; he upped the ante in 2006 when his renegotiated extension came out at $275 million for ten years. This figure was not topped until 2014, when Miguel Cabrera signed an eight-year extension which coupled with the two years remaining on his contract, amounted to $290 million. Prior to A-Rod's long reign as the record holder, the title changed hands virtually every year.

Rodriguez has a half-brother, Victor Rodriguez, Jr., who is a decorated Colonel in the United States Air Force.

[edit] Steroids

Jose Canseco, in a book written in 2007, claimed he had introduced Rodriguez to a steroids distributor but didn't state that Rodriguez had bought anything.

In December 2007, Katie Couric of CBS' Sixty Minutes interviewed A-Rod about performance-enhancing drugs, among other topics. He then stated that he had never taken any performance-enhancing substance, nor had felt pressure to take any because some of his peers may have been.

In February 2009, Sports Illustrated broke the news that A-Rod had tested positive for steroids in 2003, at a time when there were no penalties for a positive test. These tests were supposed to remain anonymous and eventually destroyed, but their results were subpoenaed as part of the BALCO case, and apparently leaked to the media by a source close to that investigation. Rodriguez confirmed in an interview with ESPN's Peter Gammons that he had used performance-enhancing drugs from 2001-2003 while a member of the Texas Rangers, adding "I was young, I was stupid, I was naive, and I wanted to prove to everyone that I was worth . . . being one of the greatest players of all time. I did take a banned substance and for that I am very sorry and deeply regretful." When these allegations came out, a number of papers and fans began to call Rodriguez A-Fraud, a play on his more famous nickname reflecting their contempt for his actions.

In May of 2009, with Rodriguez sidelined by a hip injury, journalist Selena Roberts published a biography of Rodriguez which alleged that he has been a PED user since high school. The allegations were not sourced, and long-standing friends of Rodriguez, such as Doug Mientkiewicz, who knew him when they were both teenagers, went on the record to contradict the book's allegations.

More trouble came up on January 29, 2013, when the Miami New Times reported that his name was found along with those of six other major leaguers in an investigation of Anthony Bosch, owner of the recently closed Biogenesis Laboratories in Coral Gables, FL, suspected of having supplied performance-enhancing drugs. Three of the names of the list were those of players who had been suspended for PED use by MLB over the past year - Bartolo Colon, Melky Cabrera and Yasmani Grandal - making the allegations more credible. Rodriguez immediately denied the allegations through a spokesperson: "The news report about a purported relationship between Alex Rodriguez and Anthony Bosch are not true. Alex Rodriguez was not Mr. Bosch's patient, he was never treated by him and he was never advised by him. The purported documents referenced in the story - at least as they relate to Alex Rodriguez - are not legitimate." However, the news fueled more speculation that the Yankees were seeking a way to get out of their financial obligations under Rodriguez's huge contract, by either voiding it or convincing A-Rod to retire. More bad news hit three days later when ESPN reported that Rodriguez had been receiving weekly injections at home from Bosch, while the Miami New Times added that he had agreed to pay a monthly fee of $12,000 for the service. A-Rod continued to deny all allegations through a spokesman but the scandal was not one that was to be easily swept aside. On July 22nd, after Ryan Braun and MLB reached an agreement on a suspension that Braun would not contest, attention next turned to A-Rod's case, in the form of unsubstantiated leaks indicating that MLB had obtained a large amount of evidence indicating he had been a client of Biogenesis for two years, had lied to its officials, and had tried to sabotage the investigation. As a result, there was wide speculation in the media that Commissioner Selig was prepared to invoke a lifetime ban against Rodriguez. Meanwhile, A-Rod's agent indicated that he was not prepared to waive his client's right to due process. When the suspension came down on August 5th, it was for the remainder of 2013 and the 2014 regular season, pending appeal. Before the appeal could be heard, more damaging information leaked out, as on August 16th, 60 Minutes reported that Rodriguez had leaked the names of suspended teammate Francisco Cervelli and that of Braun to investigators in the case. He immediately denied the allegations, but they were likely to damage his reputation further among fans and fellow players. When his suspension was reduced from 211 games to 162 after his appeal to arbitrator Fredric Horowitz, A-Rod was not satisfied, as he continued to deny the allegations and stated he would appeal in federal court. For its part, the Players Association stated that it "strongly disagreed" with the ruling but would not dispute it further as it was reached through an agreed process.

Even after dropping his lawsuit against MLB and being suspended for the season, Alex continued to gather headlines in 2014. In July, Sports Illustrated published excepts from a forthcoming book claiming that A-Rod had benefited form a therapeutic exemption for testosterone in 2007, the year he won his third MVP Award, insinuating that higher ups were well aware that he was a user of substances that are normally banned but allowed it to go on. Major League Baseball responded with a statement that exemptions are granted after review by independent medical experts, with no input from either the Commissioner's office or the Players Association, and that such exemptions are exceedingly rare. In another bit of soap opera, it was revealed on July 14th that Rodriguez was being sued by one of his lawyers, David Cornwell, claiming $380,000 in unpaid legal bills, plus interest and attorney fees, stemming from his unsuccessful fight against his suspension.

[edit] Bachelor of Note

Rodriguez was listed as one of Business Insider magazine's 19 most eligible bachelors in December 2011, with a net worth of $300 million. The magazine also confirms that he's a savvy art collector.

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • 14-time AL All-Star (1996-1998, 2000-2008, 2010 & 2011)
  • 3-time AL MVP (2003, 2005 & 2007)
  • 2-time AL Gold Glove Winner (2002/SS & 2003/SS)
  • 10-time AL Silver Slugger Award Winner (1996/SS, 1998-2003/SS, 2005/3B, 2007/3B & 2008/3B)
  • AL Batting Average Leader (1996)
  • 4-time AL Slugging Percentage Leader (2003, 2005, 2007 & 2008)
  • 2-time AL OPS Leader (2005 & 2007)
  • AL At Bats Leader (1998)
  • 5-time AL Runs Scored Leader (1996, 2001, 2003, 2005 & 2007)
  • AL Hits Leader (1998)
  • 4-time AL Total Bases Leader (1996, 2001, 2002 & 2007)
  • AL Doubles Leader (2002)
  • 5-time AL Home Runs Leader (2001-2003, 2005 & 2007)
  • 2-time AL RBI Leader (2002 & 2007)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 15 (1996-2010)
  • 30-Home Run Seasons: 14 (1996 & 1998-2010)
  • 40-Home Run Seasons: 7 (1998-2003, 2005 & 2007)
  • 50-Home Run Seasons: 3 (2001, 2002 & 2007)
  • 100 RBI Seasons: 14 (1996 & 1998-2010)
  • 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 13 (1996-2008)
  • 200 Hits Seasons: 3 (1996, 1998 & 2001)
  • Won a World Series with the New York Yankees in 2009


AL MVP
2002 2003 2004
Miguel Tejada Alex Rodriguez Vladimir Guerrero
2004 2005 2006
Vladimir Guerrero Alex Rodriguez Justin Morneau
2006 2007 2008
Justin Morneau Alex Rodriguez Dustin Pedroia

[edit] Records Held

  • Youngest player to hit 300 Home Runs (27 years, 249 days)
  • Youngest player to hit 400 Home Runs (29 years, 316 days)
  • Youngest player to hit 500 Home Runs (32 years, 8 days)
  • Youngest player to hit 600 Home Runs (35 years, 8 days)
  • Home runs, shortstop, season, 57, 2002
  • Home runs, third baseman, season, 52, 2007
  • Grand slams, career, 24
  • Seasons with 100 or more RBI, 14
  • Consecutive seasons with 30 or more home runs, 13 (tied)
  • Most home runs in 2000s, 435

[edit] Sources and Further Reading

  • Jack Curry: "Matching Pinstripes with Camouflage", in The New York Times, September 4, 2007, p. D1.
  • Tim Elfrink and Gus Garcia-Roberts: Blood Sport: Alex Rodriguez, Biogenesis and the Quest to End Baseball's Steroid Era, Dutton, Penguin Books, New York, NY, 2014. ISBN 978-0525954637
  • Selena Roberts: A-Rod: the Many lives of Alex Rodriguez, Harper Collins Publishers, New York, NY, 2009.

[edit] Related Sites

Personal tools