MLB Rumors: Hiroyuki Nakajima in Play for New York Yankees at 3B

By Jeff Shull
The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees announced some troubling news during the winter meetings today. Third baseman Alex Rodriguez will miss four to six months after undergoing arthroscopic hip surgery in January. A-Rod apparently played the final weeks of the season with a torn labrum, which could explain his lackluster performance in the playoffs.

The Yankees need to move quickly to find a short term solution until A-Rod can come back. If the diagnosis is accurate, the earliest he will return is May.

One route they could take is a third base by committee with Jayson Nix and Eric Chavez. Chavez played well at times in 2012, hitting 16 homers as mostly a backup. Chavez is a free agent and Nix is currently on waivers, so the Yanks could conceivably lose both options. Some other names being thrown around at the winter meetings are Jeff Keppinger, Kevin Youkilis, Placido Polanco and Brandon Inge.

However, a dark horse option could be Japanese third baseman Hiroyuki Nakajima, whom the Yankees paid a $2 million posting fee last season only to fall short on the negotiations. Nakajima hit .311 with 13 homers in Japan last year and has indicated he wants to play at the major league level.

This could be a relatively low-risk, high reward move for the Yankees. The 30-year-old is certainly not a long term solution, but could provide a spark in the lineup for the first half of the season. He is a shortstop, but has the tools to play several positions. The problem is the Yankees no longer hold exclusive negotiating rights as Nakajima is an unrestricted free agent.

Keep checking back for any and all updates on the winter meetings at Rant Sports.

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