Hours after I suggested the New York Yankees should look at Eric Chavez for a role with the team as the backup third baseman, it looks as though they may have to look for a longer term solution or at least a platoon option as reports surface about Alex Rodriguez requiring surgery on his left hip.
Rodriguez apparently was feeling pain there as the playoffs began according to multiple tweets like this one from FOX Sports reporter Ken Rosenthal. At this point when it happened doesn’t matter as much as what the Yankees will do about it in the short and long term. The surgery will be performed in January after Rodriguez strengthens the hip. He could miss anywhere from four to six months. He missed time in 2009 when his right hip was repaired.
My article earlier this morning, well before this broke, was going on the assumption there would be 200-300 or so plate appearances available over the course of the season for Chavez or whoever is A-Rod’s backup going on the assumption of a DL stint or two and days off for rest. Now, with the possibility of Rodriguez missing half the season, the Yankees may want someone who can take regular at-bats for a long period of time, or someone maybe not as brittle as Chavez is in his own right.
While Chavez played well in the long-term situation last season when A-Rod broke his hand, he did begin to wear down himself to the point that he had to miss some time. The Yankees could go with a strict platoon (which still gives Chavez more at-bats since he is a left-handed hitter) or go after a player who can hit well from both sides of the plate.
Where this is going to get sticky is with the type of player the Yankees think they need. Do they feel they have seen the last of A-Rod at third base and he’ll be a DH the rest of his time in New York, or do they feel he can somehow come back and play third base with both sides of his hip surgically repaired? The whole payroll reduction dilemma may or may not have a part to play in their course of action if they think they can’t rely on A-Rod in the field any longer. If that is the case, they cannot select a one-year wonder to fill role, unless there is a better option out there in 2014.
As staffer Benjamin Orr suggested Saturday, Chase Headley would be a great fit in New York, but the San Diego Padres will want plenty in return and they now know the Yankees have a need which does not help the Bombers’ bargaining position.
So, as general manager Brian Cashman arrives in Nashville with priorities in right field and catcher, he obviously knew all about A-Rod’s issues before news broke of it this morning. Maybe that is why they let Russell Martin go without a bid? Is it possible Cashman is working something for a third baseman, or at least has his eyes on someone who will cost them some of the precious 2014 payroll? Regardless, let us know in the comments who you think would be a good fit in the Bronx, whether it is a short-term or long-term solution.