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How Does Alex Rodriguez' Injury Affect the Rays?

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Edit: Now there's a chance he won't have surgery.

CHONE's most recent projections have the Rays and Sox/Yankees cumulative win probabilities looking like this:

Chonemarch_medium

The Rays are unfortunately the blue line while the Sox/Yanks share the red line -- they're only a win apart, and you wouldn't be able to make out the difference until the very end anyways, so using one line eliminates clutter and confusion. Basically  the Rays are looking at a five game gap. That's hardly a bad thing, considering we have no idea who will be injured, who will break out, who will have an unlucky season, etc. and really five games projected is just not a big deal.

However, Alex Rodriguez missing time is a big deal.

 

As Dave Cameron stated, the Yanks (nor any of the top American League East teams really) can ill afford to have their best player(s) miss significant time in such a clustered division. Cutting to the chase, what everyone wants to know is how much Rodriguez missing time is going to hurt the Yankees.

Over the last three years A-Rod has averaged ~4.3 plate appearances per game -- adjust that upwards if you think the Yankees offense is extremely improved, otherwise it seems like a decent number to use here. At the same time he's averaged about 0.32 wRAA per game using that plate appearance average. Defensively Rodriguez has averaged basically 0 runs per game, -0.03 if you want to be precise.

All we need to know is how many games he'll be out, and how his replacement stacks up. Here's a look at what the Yanks are missing with a replacement level player stepping in:

Alex Rodriguez absence filled by Replacement Level Player

 

Games  Offensive  Defensive  Replace Total  Wins AR
10 3.2 -0.3 1.4 4.3 0.43
20 6.4 -0.6 2.9 8.7 0.87
30 9.6 -0.9 4.3 13 1.3
40 12.8 -1.2 5.7 17.3 1.73
50 16 -1.5 7.2 21.7 2.17

This is hardly a perfect analysis, but it seems like a decent ballpark figure. Remember, that's the amount of wins Rodriguez adds, so those numbers are actually negative for the Yankees outlook. Wilson Betemit is likely giggling in southside Chicago because Cody Ransom is apparently the Yankees back-up. Ransom isn't much better than a replacement level player, so bump off maybe a half of a run from those projected totals and you have the impact felt by A-Rod's hip.

Now obviously, the Yankees could always go out and trade for a third baseman or sign someone to fake third for a month, so this could always change. Based on what we know though, the gap between the Rays and Yankees projected records can go ahead and be bumped down by at least one game.