Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez needs more hip surgery, out until midseason


This morning George King of the New York Post wrote that Alex Rodriguez’s surgically repaired right hip remains damaged and now his colleague Joel Sherman reports that Rodriguez “almost certainly needs more hip surgery”–this time on his left hip–and is expected to miss at least part of 2013.

Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reports that Rodriguez’s surgery is slated for January, with the delay stemming from the need to build up more strength in his hip before going under the knife. Obviously the fact that he’s expected to miss at least part of the season and yet the surgery is being put off until January suggests it won’t be a speedy recovery process, and according to Ken Rosenthal of it’s a 3-6 month timetable that could knock him out for the entire first half.

Rodriguez hit .272 with 18 homers in 122 games this year while apparently playing through a damaged hip, posting career-lows in slugging percentage (.430) and OPS (.783) at age 36, and was repeatedly benched in the playoffs. He’s still owed $114 million for the next five seasons, including $28 million for 2013.

UPDATE: Rodriguez reportedly had to be hospitalized during the playoffs.

Which teams improved and declined the most in 2015?

Joe Maddon
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I was curious about which MLB teams changed their fortunes the most this season compared to last year, so I crunched the numbers.

First, here are the biggest win total improvements from 2014 to 2015:

+24 Cubs
+21 Rangers
+16 Astros
+15 Diamondbacks
+13 Twins
+11 Mets
+10 Blue Jays
+10 Cardinals
+10 Pirates

The top five teams on the biggest-improvement list all had managers in their first season on the job, led by Joe Maddon joining the Cubs after tons of success with the Rays. Also worth noting: Of the nine teams with the biggest win total improvement, eight made the playoffs. Only the Twins improved to double-digit games and still failed to make the playoffs.

Now, here are the biggest win total declines from 2014 to 2015:

-20 Athletics
-16 Tigers
-15 Orioles
-14 Brewers
-13 Nationals
-13 Angels
-12 Braves
-12 Reds
-11 Mariners

Not surprisingly, a whole lot of those teams have changed managers, general managers, or both. And a couple more may still do so before the offseason gets underway. Oakland retained manager Bob Melvin despite an MLB-high 20-win dropoff and just promoted Billy Beane from general manager to vice president of baseball operations.

MLB games were six minutes shorter this year

Pitch Clock
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According to STATS, INC., the average game in 2015 was 2 hours, 56 minutes. That’s six minutes faster than games in 2014.

The gains came in the first half, when games averaged 2:53. Second half games averaged three hours even. One can probably thank the expanded rosters in September for that, as games then see many more pitching changes. Of course, it’s likely that second half games were faster in 2015 than 2014 as well given the rules changes.

Those changes: agreement to enforce the rule requiring a hitter to keep at least one foot in the batter’s box and the installation of clocks timing pitching changes and between-inning breaks in ever ballpark.

It remains to be seen if MLB stays satisfied with that modest improvement or if chooses to go the way Triple-A and Double-A leagues did. They installed 20-second pitch clocks and started penalizing violators with balls and strikes. Triple-A’s two leagues, the International and Pacific Leagues, saw game-time decreases by 13 and 16 minutes, respectively.