UPDATE: A few minutes ago Brian Cashman said that it wasn’t just A-Rod’s knee that got the German engineering treatment. It was his left shoulder too. Here’s a full report on it all.
So, to sum up: the guy who is still owed $143 million over six years to play third base for the Yankees is basically fallin’ apart. So that’s nice.
9:43 AM: The New York Post reports what the above headline says: Alex Rodriguez — on the recommendation of Kobe Bryant of all people — recently traveled to Germany for experimental therapy on his troublesome knee. The treatment, called Orthokine, proceeds thusly:
Orthokine involves taking blood from the patient’s arm and spinning it in a centrifuge, a machine used in laboratories to spin objects around a fixed axis. The serum is then injected into the affected area — in this case, Rodriguez’s knee.
No one knows if it works or anything, but that hasn’t stopped athletes before. The key takeaway here is that Rodriguez actually cleared this with Major League Baseball and the Yankees, thereby heading off the kind of criticism Bartolo Colon got for his blood-spinning therapy last year.
Of course, this is A-Rod we’re talking about, so someone is still going to criticize him. It’s just sort of how things roll with him. We should make a contest out of it: first writer or talk radio dude to imply that there must be something wrong or illegal about it all will be presented with a major award. Anyone who uses the fact that it took place in Germany to make some hamfisted “Boys From Brazil” reference will get extra credit for A-Rod rhetoric above and beyond the usual call of duty.
To the surprise of, well, very few, the Mariners didn’t make the cut for the postseason this year. While they threw their hats in the ring for a wild card berth, their pitching staff just couldn’t stay healthy, from the handful of pitchers who contracted season-ending injuries in spring training to Felix Hernandez‘s shoulder bursitis to structural damage in Hisashi Iwakuma‘s right shoulder. Left-hander James Paxton missed 79 days with a lingering head cold, strained left forearm and pectoral strain. Heading into the 2018 season, the lefty told MLB.com’s Greg Johns that he plans to “nerd out big-time” in order to prepare for a healthy, consistent run with the club.
So far, Johns reports, that entails a new diet and workout program, hot yoga sessions and blood testing. “I just think there’s more I can do,” Paxton said. “I haven’t done the blood testing before. Finding out if there’s something I don’t know about myself. It’s just about learning and trying to find what works for me.”
When healthy, the 28-year-old southpaw was lights-out for the Mariners. He helped stabilize the front end of the rotation with a 12-5 record in 24 starts and supplemented his efforts with a 2.98 ERA, 2.4 BB/9 and 10.3 SO/9 through 136 innings. Despite taking multiple trips to the disabled list, he built up 4.6 fWAR — the most wins above replacement he’s compiled in any season of his career to date. Had he not been felled by a pectoral injury in mid-August — one that came with a five-week trip to the disabled list — the club might have been been able to make a bigger push for the playoffs.
Of course, even if Paxton manages to stay healthy next season, the Mariners still have the rest of the rotation to worry about. They cycled through 17 starters in 2017 and tied the 2014 Rangers with 40 total pitchers over the course of the season. Per GM Jerry Dipoto, their top four starters (Paxton, Hernandez, Iwakuma, and Tommy John candidate Drew Smyly) only contributed 17% of total innings pitched, just a tad below the 40% average. Finding adequate big league arms and compensating for injured aces (both current and former) will be tough. Still, getting a healthy, dominant Paxton back on the mound for 30+ starts would be a huge get for the team — whether or not the postseason is in their future next year.