Hal Steinbrenner has been disappointed in A-Rod

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The headline — the one I use is the same I’ve seen in all the AP wire reports — is likely to cause some to describe A-Rod as being in the Yankees doghouse again, but Hal Steinbrenner’s actual comments seem pretty measured and sensible:

“There have no doubt been times when we’ve been disappointed in him and we’ve conveyed that to him and he understands that,” Steinbrenner said. “But look, everybody’s human and everybody makes mistakes. If you’ve got a guy over the course of 10 years, there’s going to be times any of us make mistakes … It’s a big contract,” Steinbrenner said. “We all hope he’s going to act like a Yankee and do the best to live up to it.”

Obviously this isn’t the situation Steinbrenner or A-Rod want to be in now, but it could be more acrimonious. I mean, when his dad got to this point with Dave Winfield he sicced a private eye and ex-IRS agents on him and stuff. These words likely reflect the bulk of Yankees fans’ feelings about Rodriguez too. It stinks that he gets into messes, we wish he didn’t, we wish he was still an MVP-caliber player, we know he isn’t, but let’s let the worst case scenario be him trying hard nonetheless.

And read to the end of the report. It describes A-Rod’s rehab so far. Call me crazy, but that stuff about hitting balls out to the opposite field — and, admittedly, a lot of contrarian optimism on my part — has me imagining Rodriguez coming back and having a pretty big second half, which would make a lot of people feel kinda stupid.

 

Hunter Pence is mashing for the Rangers

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Hunter Pence was thought to be on his way to retirement after a lackluster 2018 season with the Giants. As he entered his mid-30’s, Pence spent a considerable amount of time on the injured list, playing in 389 out of 648 possible regular season games with the Giants from 2015-18.

Pence, however, kept his career going, inking a minor league deal with the Rangers in February. He performed very well in spring training, earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Pence hasn’t stopped hitting.

Entering Monday night’s game against the Mariners, Pence was batting .299/.358/.619 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 109 plate appearances, mostly as a DH. Statcast agrees that Pence has been mashing the ball. He has an average exit velocity of 93.3 MPH this season, which would obliterate his marks in each of the previous four seasons since Statcast became a thing. His career average exit velocity is 89.8 MPH. He has “barreled” the ball 10.4 percent of the time, well above his 6.2 percent average.

What Pence did to a baseball in the seventh inning of Monday’s game, then, shouldn’t come as a surprise.

That’s No. 9 on the year for Pence. Statcast measured it at 449 feet and 108.3 MPH off the bat. Not only is Pence not retired, he may be a lucrative trade chip for the Rangers leading up to the trade deadline at the end of July.