With Alex Rodriguez out until at least June due to his need for a second hip surgery, a situation that has to cloud his future effectiveness and ability to play third base on any sort of regular basis, where does that leave the New York Yankees entering the 2013 season?
Will they look for a stop-gap solution at third base? Will they just hand the job to reserve infielder Eduardo Nunez? Will they use this as an opportunity to expedite making Rodriguez a full-time designated hitter and try to find a long-term answer at the hot corner? Do they have room in their budget to do anything at all?
Here is a part of a report from SB Nation's Steven Goldman:
Cashman has not settled on a replacement, and specifically ruled out utilityman Eduardo Nunez. "If something makes sense we'll be aggressive with it," he said of an outside acquisition, but otherwise reiterated that his focus remained on improving the club as a whole and was prepared to wait for a solution to present itself for the period of time during which A-Rod is out. "We will try to accomplish upgrades where practical," he said. "We will cushion the blow." A question as to whether the Yankees' restricted-money mode would impact the search for replacements appeared to give him pause. "Everything is going to count," he said in terms of costs, but said that financial concerns had not yet affected the search.
Here is some of the other reaction from around the Inter-Google:
The Yankees have no money. The Yankees have no left side of the infield.
The Yankees are in trouble?
"Big-time trouble," one rival executive said Monday morning, once news broke that Alex Rodriguez needs another hip surgery and will miss the start of the 2013 season.
Let's slow down this train right here, because it's always easy to overreact when it comes to the Yankees. While they really are cutting down on their spending, they're still going to have a payroll bigger than anyone but the newly-rich Dodgers.
Valentine's View: If the Yankees had to play a game tomorrow they would definitely be in big-time trouble. They might not be, however, if they use this situation as an opportunity. The next link looks at how they might do that.
What looks like a significant problem for the New York Yankees could be the opening to make a bold move to help rework the roster for the future.
With third base open, they can go hard via trade for a long-term answer at third base. The most intriguing possibility would be San Diego's Chase Headley. He's 28, two seasons away from free agency, and on a team that could be enticed by a solid package of young players.
Valentine's View: The Yankees were rumored to be interested in Headley last season. You will likely hear a slew of rumors about interest being rekindled going forward. Headley hit .286/.376/.498 with career bests in home runs (31) and RBI (115) last season.
Until recently, it appeared the Yankees would be content putting most of last season’s AL East champion back together again. They re-signed pitchers Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte and Hiroki Kuroda and hoped to sign an outfielder to replace the departed Nick Swisher. General manager Brian Cashman surely will have to cover for the left side of his infield, perhaps for an extended period of time at third base.
Free-agent third-base options include Kevin Youkilis and Jeff Keppinger. Shortstops Marco Scutaro and Stephen Drew also are free agents.
Valentine's View: Picking up any of these guys would be the stop-gap option. Can you imagine Youkilis in pinstripes?