A loud groan.
That was the only sound that came out of my mouth when I had learned that Alex Rodriguez would be out until at least June with a torn labrum. I’ll be honest, when I turned on the MLB Network and saw the “A-Rod” section on their ticker, I thought that the New York Yankees had done something miraculous and traded their once megastar third baseman. Alas, it was not to be – and now the Yankees are put into a position that no Yankees fan should find surprising, but do anyway.
What is surprising about this announcement is that Rodriguez was playing with hip problems all year. Certainly one would think that with the Yankees team of experienced medical staff, somebody would have seen a hip problem at some point during the season, right?
Word is that Rodriguez did not tell anybody about his ailing hip until he was pinch-hit for in game three of the ALDS – when he explained to Joe Girardi that his hip was keeping him from hitting the ball. According to Brian Cashman, Rodriguez was given an MRI later that night, but no damage was found. It was not until Rodriguez underwent an examination in the offseason that showed a torn labrum.
So the question is, where do the Yankees go from here?
Well if you think that the Yankees are going to go out and spend an exorbitant amount of money on a player – forget about it. In his conference earlier today, Brian Cashman also reiterated that the Yankees will stick to their plan of lowering payroll to under $189 million dollars by 2014.
This leaves the Yankees with a few options.
There are reports going around saying that the Yankees have a lot of interest in Jeff Keppinger. That would be a smart signing because Keppinger hit .325 with nine homeruns and 40 RBIs in 115 games for the Tampa Bay Rays last season. Keppinger would also not break the bank for the Yankees, this making him a very cost effective option.
Another option is to bring back Eric Chavez. As part of a platoon at third base last year, Chavez hit .281 with 16 homeruns and 37 RBIs in 113 games. He is also a former Gold Glove winner who has shown no signs of slowing down defensively over his last few seasons with the Bombers. Another cost effective option, Chavez could be another quality replacement.
There is also the option that the Yankees stay in-house to solve their problem. Although unlikely, the Yankees do have players such as David Adams who could be of some help – especially in a platoon role.
People always like to rip on A-Rod, but the fact of the matter is that he makes the lineup deeper. Last season, the Yankees were 22-21 when Rodriguez did not play. Does this mean that the Yankees will float around in mediocrity until he gets back? Not necessarily, but the Yankees must really make the right decision trying to replace him for the months that he will be gone.
Follow Hunter Farman on Twitter @hfarman1