Join Date: Jul 2007
OK, here comes the bomb... follow me before you roast me, OK.
I would start a team, right now, to compete for the long term, with Robinson Cano.
If you look at it, 2nd base is the hardest place to get offensive production while 3B has a ton of offense right now (Zimmerman, A-Rod, Wright, Ramirez...).
In Robbie you get a 23 year old who will average .300-.320 in an average year and probably peak at .340-.360. (Tony Gwynn says he thinks he'll win a few batting titles). Cano is also a good fielder, so its not like there is a cast iron glove there.
Then I worry about outfield, because there isn't as much offense in the outfield as you would think (anyone who did fantasy baseball this year should notice this).
Is A-Rod the best player in baseball... yup. Maybe by a couple of touchdowns. Could you sign Ryan Zimmerman and get a player who will put up similar numbers? Yes.
Is Robbie the best 2B in baseball... I think probably. You can argue Utley, but he plays in a band-box and hits in the weaker NL.
Now you do the math. This is my best guestimation of what the two players would do in equal stadiums (Shea Stadium)/conditions.
A-Rod .320, 41 HR, 120 RBI, .405 OBP, .550 SLG, .955 OPS Age: 33
Zimmerman .315, 28 HR, 115 RBI, .369 OBP, .490 SLG, .859 OPS Age: 23
The difference in OPS is significant, but as A-Rod ages Zimmerman will close the gap, players peak between 27-28 usually, so you can expect A-Rod's stats to downtick slowly. I would have to believe this is A-Rod's career year while Zimmerman is getting better with his plate discipline and is 4 years away from his prime.
Cano .330, 20 HR, 97 RBI, .370 OBP, .502 SLG, .872 OPS Age: 25
Utley .297, 25 HR, 104 RBI, .360 OBP, .520 SLG, .880 OPS Age: 30
Utley gets the edge slightly because of the additional thunder he has in his bats, and his RBI total is the result of batting higher in the batting order. Put Cano in the 3-hole (bad idea, that flopped miserably this year) and he probably knocks in 120. The important thing to note is that this is the last year Utley edges Cano, and it is ever so slight, the drop from Utley to the 3rd best 2B in the league is much further than the drop from Zimmerman to the 3rd best 3B in the league, David Wright (or a few other guys).
If you want to win, don't put all your eggs in one basket. Go for where quantity is limited. If you have A-Rod and Jeter and bunch of sub-par offensive players in the outfield (see: NY Yankees April & May), you are going to lose an awful lot of games regardless of how many bombs A-Rod hits.
Now as for the Yankees, they can do whatever their checkbook lets them, so they don't play with the same rules as the rest of MLB, so they can and should sign A-Rod, and then make deals to sure up their bullpen.