Thursday, August 5, 2010
Fans, bloggers, ponder A-Rod's future
By Mark Simon
It figures to be a hot topic now that Alex Rodriguez has finally cleared the 600-home run plateau whether Rodriguez will finish his career as baseball's all-time home run king.
With that in mind, we asked a few Yankees bloggers and fans we know what their take was on Rodriguez's future, and the home run total he'd finish with. We got a few responses of an analytic nature.
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It's only a question of health, because statistically speaking, A-Rod could hit 13 more home runs this year and 30-30-25-20-20-15-10 during the remainder of his contract to pass Bonds. The Yankees will pay him $6 million a pop for reaching the Mays/Ruth/Aaron/Bonds plateaus, so they want it to happen. Whatever it takes, offering him yearly opt-outs, giving Kate Hudson season tickets (and paying her to attend!), paying opponents to pitch Bartolo Colon...
If you exclude A-Rod's first two years in the major leagues with Seattle, from 1997 to 2009, A-Rod has averaged 41.3 home runs per season.
I will project that he plays another 5 years after this season until he reaches the age of 40. I will project 15 home runs for the remaining of the 2010 an average of 32 home runs over the next 5 season.
A-Rod should have 613 home runs by the end of this season and finish his career with 773 home runs, based on my projections.
All bets are off if A-Rod is further linked to illegal use of performance-enhancers. If this scenario happens, then I will project that A-Rod finishes his career with 659 home runs, 1 shy of Willie Mays and 4th place in the history books.
Pinstriped Bible Forecasting A-Rod's future means guessing if this year's decline from "elite" to "pretty darned good" is transient or a fixture. Rodriguez just turned 35, and it's possible that the 40- and 50-homer days have permanently yielded to 35s and 25s. If so, he should conk out around 750 homers, or just short of Barry Bonds. As for his future, he's signed at pre-recession prices through 2017, so it involves huge piles of money for declining production and eventual retirement.
Rodriguez will clear Barry Bonds' mark of 762, but not by much; I'll put my nickel on 768. The muted affair will be accompanied by as much handwringing as when Bonds passed Hank Aaron due to questions about steroids and the mainstream media's lingering hostility towards A-Rod. By that point, the oldest codgers will have hung up their keyboards and Bonds will be in Cooperstown, with the writers having established a precedent of holding their noses and voting for the biggest stars implicated.
Yankeeist.com Having averaged roughly 41 HRs per year since becoming a full-time player in 1996, if Alex were to maintain that pace over the duration of his Yankee contract, he would finish with roughly 887 home runs, which seems highly unlikely. Additionally, A-Rod's relative lack of power this season has been a concern, and he's likely to become more of a 20-25-home-run player as he continues to age -- respectable for a slugger in his late 30s, but not exactly what the Yankees were hoping for when they re-signed Alex to his record deal.
Most HR After 35th Birthday
>> Source: Elias Sports Bureau
At that rate, A-Rod would finish his career with around 775 bombs, which certainly seems within the realm of possibility.
When Alex Rodriguez's contract expires, he will be 42 years old. That's 7.5 seasons of productivity to complete. ARod has hit his 600 home runs at a 14.5 AB/HR rate. In 2010, he's slowed to 22.8 AB/HR. ARod's also averaged 621 at-bats per 162 game season. If we project that A-Rod continues at his current HR rate but at a lower 500 AB/season, he would add roughly 25 HR at year until he retires. Adding in what he might hit the rest of this season and he falls right in line with what Barry Bonds finished with, 763.
If A-Rod can pick up his HR rate to 30 HR a year for at least four of those seven remaining years, A-Rod can eclipse 800 home runs.
My guess: He'll finish ahead of Bonds but less than 800.
We also gave the folks a chance to conjure up a humorous response and three obliged us with their wit and widsom. Here are their takes.
Alex Rodriguez will finish with a career 742 home runs because, as sci-fi author Douglas Adams so well noted, 42 is the answer to 'life, the universe, and everything.'
Don't believe me? Just look at Mariano Rivera!
ESPN Stats and Information
601. His next HR -- his 601st -- will be a walk-off home run. Just as A.J. Burnett is about to give him a celebratory pie in the face, A-Rod tries to avoid his dessert and tears three ligaments in his right knee while awkwardly turning away from the lunging Burnett (a reverse Chris Coghlan). He has four different surgeries to try to repair the damage, but none are successful, and A-Rod is left with a permanent limp and the satisfaction of knowing that he hit more than 600 homers in his career.
EmmaSpan.com (Author: "90 Percent of the Game is Half Mental")
After a bounce-back 2011 season, Alex Rodriguez will hit his 666th home run in 2012 -- thereby triggering the Mayan Apocalypse and putting an end to A-Rod's pursuit of the home run run record, as well as the entire planet.
Mark Simon is a researcher for Baseball Tonight. Follow him on Twitter at @msimonespn.