With the news of Derek Jeter‘s retirement after the 2014 season, the New York Yankees are without a starting shortstop for 2015. While there are still some options on the current free agent market in Stephen Drew, and Emilio Bonifacio, the only in-house candidates as of right now are Brendan Ryan, Eduardo Nunez, and Scott Sizemore.
All three have their flaws. Ryan, who is known as a defensive wizard at short, unfortunately has been mostly a .200 hitter for his career. Nunez, while he swings a decent bat, has been far too inconsistent defensively during his time in pinstripes to be seriously considered a full-time starter. Sizemore, who recently signed a minor league deal with the Yankees, has mostly only played second and third base in his career, and is coming off two ACL tears in his left knee, two years in a row.
This is where Alex Rodriguez comes into the picture. A-Rod, who was recently suspended from Major League Baseball for the entirety of the 2014 season, is expected to be back in 2015… just as Jeter is walking out the door. As you all probably know, before he became A-Rod the third baseman, Rodriguez was known as one of the best; check that. The best shortstop in MLB. He showed tremendous ability, winning two Gold Gloves at the position with Texas.
With the Yankees’ options looking slim, there may actually be the possibility that Alex Rodriguez could make the switch back to short for the 2015 season. While there is truth to the fact that he is a lot older than he once was, and has not played at the position in nearly a decade, at this point, he is really the Yankees’ best option. If A-Rod does make the switch back, then there is still the issue of who would play third base.
Should the Yankees choose to stay in-house if and when this situation presents itself, this is where one of the three guys previously mentioned could come into play. Nunez, while he has been shaky at short, showed much better ability at third last season, a position that requires less movement and range of motion. Nunez at third could definitely be a possibility should A-Rod make the switch. Another possibility would be Scott Sizemore, who has played third for the majority of his career. While he is coming off two ACL tears, if he looks good in spring training, makes the roster, and has a bounce back year, he could certainly be an option as well.
Or, how about current third baseman, Kelly Johnson? Johnson was signed by the Yankees earlier this offseason, likely in their anticipation that A-Rod would be suspended. Johnson has been known to be a solid fielder, and also has some pop, hitting 16 homers for the Rays last season. These would all be in-house options should the Yankees be in need for a third baseman next offseason. But then again, how often do the Yankees really stay “in-house?”
So while you may call it crazy, or ludicrous, or unfathomable, just remember that Alex Rodriguez is still a Major League-quality baseball player, who has had plenty of experience there, and who certainly has the capability to fill the requirements of the position. So before you shoot this down, just take a moment to consider the options the Yankees currently have, and decide whether or not you would prefer A-Rod or a Nunez/Ryan/Sizemore or some combination thereof at shortstop. Granted, it is a longshot, but it is still a very real possibility that the Yankees will have no choice but to at least consider the option next offseason, no matter how briefly…