Rodriguez doesn't guarantee title

The Yankees have improved with the addition of Alex Rodriguez but not so much as you would think.

Updated: February 17, 2004, 11:06 AM ET
By Jim Baker | MLB Insider
On January 28 I wrote a piece arguing that the Yankees were not going to fall as far as many think they will. I argued that they still had a mountain of talent on hand and had gone to great lengths to bring in even more talent than they had lost. This led to a rush of letters accusing me of being a Yankee lover and enabler of all things Steinbrenner. It cracks me up that people never fail to make the great leap in assuming that an objective comment indicates passion or regional bias.

Alex Rodriguez
Alex Rodriguez appears set to join Derek Jeter in the Yanks' infield.
Having grown up in the shadow of the Evil Empire, I can honestly say the Yankees have caused me more rooting misery than every other professional sports team extant or defunct combined. Me, a Yankee lover? I'm the guy that has said on many occasions that I would root for an all-star team of war criminals if they were playing the Yankees.

Those who disagreed with me and accused me of genuflecting before the Yankee altar ignored a key sentence in my piece, which read: "The Yankees have the smarts and the resources to make corrections on the fly as they see fit and this will keep them at the top of their division until such time as George Steinbrenner is called to the great beyond where he will, inevitably, try to run things." In other words, don't ever take the Yankees at face value because they -- like the aging, wealthy dowager with the sagging face -- have the money to change their look at a moment's notice.

Jim Baker is an author at Baseball Prospectus and a frequent contributor to Page 2. You can e-mail Jim at