Sunday, February 15, 2004

The Fan was taking a little break before Spring Training and during a heavy work schedule. But, the blockbuster deal between the New York Yankees and the Texas Rangers shortened that vacation. In an out of the blue and amazing development, Alex Rodriguez is going to play third base for the Yankees and Alfonso Soriano will play for the Texas Rangers.

The trade comes as a complete surprise to the baseball world as the Rangers just announced A-Rod as their team captain a couple of weeks ago. A sure sign that the team was resigned to playing Rodriguez the rest of his contract life. The trade is such a good one for the Yankees that no one is yet asking who will play second base for the Yankees.

Soriano was great in flashes. In fact, his flashes were spectacular. But his flashes created a hit or miss situation. And his missed the entire post-season for the Yankees last year. In what had to be demoralizing for his teammates, Soriano would swing at anything with runners on base in the World Series and the Marlins pitchers made him look stupid. A-Rod has much more control in his game and will be a better fielder too.

Alex Rodriguez has averaged 124 runs scored, 121 RBI, 42 homers, 34 doubles and 186 hits in his last eight years. That's as close to a hitting machine as you can find. Will Yankee Stadium be a hindrance for him with its big outfield gaps? It didn't seem to in Seattle where it was even harder to hit homeruns.

The only negative to this deal is the very real perception problem baseball continues to have where teams with money can gather the best players and those without have to scramble to make it. But the Angels and Marlins proved it can be done. Even so, the Yankees will continue to be the behemoth that the rest of America hates almost as much as the world hates America itself.

Wow. What a baseball day!