First, let me say how amazing it is to have nothing but baseball talk on Twitter today! I'm even getting tweets about which position players have already reported to camp for my team, the Chicago Cubs. If you are like me, and scanned the transactions section of your local newspaper 20-30 years ago just to see who your team was signing and cutting, you'll probably agree that this Twitter stuff is mind-blowing.
So of course the hot topic today is A-Rod. (Poor Joe Flacco can't even have two days, can he?) ESPN's Scott van Pelt even wondered today whether or not Rodriguez has played his final game for the New York Yankees. Would any MLB team even want him, SVP asked. As a Cubs fan, I can tell you right now... YES. I want him. Right now. At third base. In Chicago. Right this second.
Is A-Rod still awesome? No. Especially if the league finally gets him to stop shooting up, he is not nearly the player he once was. But, if the Yankees had to pick up his salary and my team could grab him for the league minimum... geez. That's like a dream come true.
If you think I'm crazy, then you must not know the current third base scenario projected for Wrigley Field this year. Let me break down our options for you:
1. Ian Stewart - After hitting 43 home runs in two seasons, Stewart managed zero (yeah, none) in 2011 during his final year in Colorado. The Cubs promptly gave him a chance to bounce back in 2012 and take over the hot corner in Chicago for the foreseeable future. He hit .201 and crushed a whopping five homers in an injury-plagued year. The team is giving him another shot to prove himself this spring.
2. Luis Valbuena - He kind of saved the team by giving them a body capable of standing near the third base section of the field after Stewart proved incapable of doing so adequately. Valbuena could actually swing the bat sometimes as well and came up with a few big hits last year. Still his .219 average isn't fooling anyone, even if it did lead the team's third basemen last year.
3. Josh Vitters - This young man should have a very short leash in Spring Training. After being the "third baseman of the future" for five years, Vitters finally had a decent enough minor league showing to warrant a promotion to a team that desperately needed help at his position. Unfortunately he responded with 33 strikeouts in 99 at bats. He hit .121 and looked completely over-matched, even against teams like the Houston Astros. I'd love to see him come back in March and be ready for the top level, but let's be realistic here.
That's it, people. Scott Rolen and Brandon Inge are still available in free agency, but signing one of them would just be telling Valbuena to stay warmed up, since he'd be starting at third again before the Indy 500. (Look, if I'm talking baseball on a racing blog, I have to get my references in anyway I can. For non-racing experts like me, this refers to like late-May. I think.)
So would I take the 17 homers, 60 RBIs, and .274 clip that A-Rod has averaged the last two seasons? YES. Theo, make this happen. Or put Soriano at third base. One or the other.