Alex Rodriguez is so awesome he just improved the Tampa Bay Devil Rays pitching staff.
Rodriguez will opt out of the final three years of his contract with the New York Yankees which most likely ended his tenure in pinstripes.
How does this improve the Devil Rays pitching staff? The 2008 pitching staff will now have as many as 19 fewer games in which they will have to face Alex Rodriguez. If Rodriguez moves to the NL and the Rays do not face his new team in interleague competition, that will mark 70-80 fewer plate appearances against the best hitter in baseball.
In 2007 Alex Rodriguez posted a VORP of 96 which translates to 0.60 runs per game of production over a replacement-level player. In 19 games, that would translate to 11.5 runs of production more than a replacement-level player. Of course, the Yankees will certainly look to fill the position with a player that is better than “replacement-level”.
Two possibilities are free agent third basemen Mike Lamb and Mike Lowell. Lowell had a VORP of 46.2 which would translate to 5.9 runs over a replacement-level player. Lamb had a 2007 VORP of 16.1, or 3.8 runs of production. Therefore with Alex Rodriguez’ career in pinstripes likely over, his absence alone would mean the Yankees would score between 5.6 and 7.7 fewer runs against the Rays in 2008.
Another way to look at it is at the overly-simplified Runs Created (RC; R+RBI-HR) and compare the numbers of Rodriguez in 2007 against only the Rays and the RC value of Mike Lowell. In 2007 Rodriguez was directly responsible for 34 runs against the Rays (72 plate appearances). Lowell created 26 runs in 2007 against the Rays in a similar number of plate appearances (74). Obviously, this is hardly scientific, but if the Yankees employed Lowell instead of Rodriguez in 2007 (arguably the best possible 2008 replacement) the Yankees would have scored 8 fewer runs against the Devil Rays.
This is all just a complicated way of stating the obvious. With Alex Rodriguez opting out of his contract with the Yankees, the Devil Rays pitching staff just got a little better. And let’s face it…they need all the help they can get.
Bye-bye, A-Rod: Rodriguez ends contract with New York Yankees [Yahoo! Sports]