News Forum Blogs Roster Players Schedule Depth chart Stats Videos Photos

St. Louis Cardinals News

News » A-Rod should be participating in Home Run Derby

A-Rod should be participating in Home Run Derby

A-Rod should be participating in Home Run Derby
NEW YORK - Tickets for the Home Run Derby range from $100 to $650. At those prices, the game's most renowned sluggers should be almost obligated to appear — not just for the ticket buyers, but also for the television viewers and the promotion of their sport.

Alas, baseball has little control over its biggest stars.

Alex Rodriguez, who just passed Mickey Mantle for 13th on the all-time home-run list, isn't in the Derby. Neither is Manny Ramirez, the newest member of the 500-homer club.

Ryan Howard, the major-league leader with 28 homers? Not an All-Star, not present. Ditto for Adam Dunn, who is second overall with 26 homers. And Albert Pujols, who apparently wasn't invited to participate.

A-Rod, though, is the most glaring absentee.

Barry Bonds was heavily criticized for declining to participate in last year's Derby at his home park. A-Rod deserves the same heat for the same offense, and let's not hear about how the Derby might disrupt his precious swing.

Yes, several recent Derby participants — Bobby Abreu, David Wright, Alex Rios — had their home-run production decline after they competed in the event. But those dropoffs might have occurred anyway. These are the best hitters in the game. They can't adjust?

This year's Derby field includes many of the game's leading sluggers — Lance Berkman, Ryan Braun, Dan Uggla and Chase Utley for the National League; Josh Hamilton, Evan Longoria, Justin Morneau and Grady Sizemore for the AL.

It's great to see fresh faces. It would be better to see more marquee names.

In the movie, "Spiderman," Peter Parker says, "With great power, comes great responsibility." Ramirez has never been Mr. Responsibility. A-Rod, though, should know better.

He should change his mind the way he once changed countries before the World Baseball Classic and make a surprise appearance in Monday night's event.

The Dunn conundrum

Power hitters are increasingly difficult to find, yet the Reds are generating little trade interest in Dunn, who is on pace for his fifth straight 40-homer season.

Dunn offers both on-base percentage and power, but rival clubs are discouraged by his high strikeout rate and sub-par defense in left field. An official from a club that has had past interest in Dunn offers yet another criticism — Dunn's performance with runners in scoring position.

Statistically, that criticism does not appear to be valid. This season, Dunn's batting average/on-base/slugging line is nearly identical to his line with RISP. For his career, Dunn is batting .247-.381-.521 overall, .223-.412-.473 with RISP.

The Reds will take a considerable risk if they fail to trade Dunn, then allow him to become a free agent. They would need to offer Dunn salary arbitration to preserve their rights to draft-pick compensation. If Dunn accepted, he likely would receive a salary of at least $15 million.

MLB roundup

The Dodgers remain interested in Pirates shortstop Jack Wilson, a move that seemingly would preclude them from re-signing Rafael Furcal. Wilson has not played any position but shortstop in the majors; his bat profiles even worse at third than it does at short, and also would be a significant comedown at second from Jeff Kent. Another option for the Dodgers would be to sign Diamondbacks second baseman Orlando Hudson in free agency, and turn over short to one of their younger shortstops, Chin-Lung Hu or Ivan DeJesus Jr. . . .

The Pirates' prices remain high on outfielders Jason Bay and Xavier Nady and lefty reliever Damaso Marte, according to rival executives. The Pirates' position is that they can trade all three of those players before July 31, during the offseason or next July. Some teams, however, are skeptical that the Pirates would offer Marte arbitration (after declining his $6 million option) to preserve their rights to draft-pick compensation. The Red Sox are among the teams interested in Marte . . .

Davey Johnson, the manager in the Futures Game and in the upcoming Olympics, joked Sunday that he taught A's general manager Billy Beane "everything he knows" about statistical analysis. Johnson, who was Beane's manager with the Mets in 1984 and '85, first saw the value in numbers when he was playing for the Orioles and writing out lineups for Earl Weaver. "It's not rocket science," Johnson says . . .

A belated congratulations to Royals second baseman Mark Grudzielanek on reaching 2,000 hits. Grudzielanek, 38, is one of the game's more underrated players, a solid defender who batted .302 from 2003 to '07 with the Cubs, Cardinals and Royals — and is batting .309 this season despite playing with a sore back. Ian Kinsler, Brian Roberts and Dustin Pedroia are the only American League second basemen with higher on-base/slugging percentages than Grudzielanek in 2008 . . .

And finally, a young man riding the "4" train to Yankee Stadium on Sunday displayed a stunning series of 26 small tattoos on his right arm — each denoting a year that the Yankees won the World Series. "You are a true fan," a fellow rider told him, gazing at the man's arm in astonishment. "I'm a Mets fan, but I can appreciate that."

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: July 14, 2008

St. Louis Cardinals Photos
All the latest St. Louis Cardinals Photos Store photographs. Major League Baseball MLB.
The Most recent video
• One game and it feels like Boston is goi...
Posted By playerofcardinal
• Long-time Cardinal employee Kissell dies...
Posted By playerofcardinal
• Longtime Cards official George Kissell d...
Posted By playerofcardinal
• Longoria's cool, reliever's heat lead Ra...
Posted By playerofcardinal
• Duncan to return to Cards (PA SportsTick...
Posted By playerofcardinal
• Cardinals, pitching coach agree to 1-yea...
Posted By playerofcardinal
• Longtime Cardinals coach Kissel injured ...
Posted By playerofcardinal
• Cardinals official Kissell dies after ca...
Posted By playerofcardinal
• Pujols named NL Player of the Week (PA S...
Posted By playerofcardinal
• Cardinals re-sign RHP Lohse (PA SportsTi...
Posted By playerofcardinal
Add to Google
Add to My Yahoo!
Subscribe in NewsGator Online
Add to Windows Live

Copyright ©, Inc. All rights reserved 2008.