Alex Rodriguez and his ongoing hearing have the New York Yankees in offseason limbo. If Rodriguez beats the odds and wins his appeal the Yankees will have a third baseman but will be paying dearly for it and they still are clinging to the hope that they will get under the $189 million luxury tax threshold. If Rodriguez’s suspension is upheld the Yankees will have extra money to spend but will be without a viable third base option. It will be up to GM Brian Cashman to make sure the Yankees are prepared in any situation and he is expected to find a potential replacement for Rodriguez at third base.
The free agent market is really Cashman’s only option to fill that void. The minors are essentially void of ready talent and a trade seems unlikely given the status of the Yankees’ farm system. The problem is, the free agent market isn’t exactly loaded with talent at the moment. Kevin Youkilis, last season’s Rodriguez insurance policy didn’t appear in a game after June 13th and played in only 28 games with the Yankees. He isn’t an option. There is, however, one player out there who the Yankees were linked to leading up to the deadline last season and who is a free agent this offseason, Michael Young.
Young just turned 37 and is hardly an ideal option. He is, however, the best option for a full-time third baseman. He is not the best defensively but isn’t quite as, for lack of a better word, exciting as Eduardo Nunez. What little power he offered during the prime of his career is pretty much gone as he has hit just eight home runs each of the past two seasons. He does still offer a solid contact bat though that is capable of hitting .265-.280 with some gap power.
At this stage of Young’s career he is not worth anything more than a one-year deal. He can also give you innings at second and first which does give him a little value as a sort of utility man if a team isn’t ready to give him a starting job. The problem is do the Yankees want to go with a 37-year-old third baseman and 40-year-old shortstop this season? Do they have much choice?
The Yankees will need to do something to fill the likely void at third. The options aren’t great and Young is one of the better options. He doesn’t have the injury history of an Eric Chavez or Youkilis. He is a better overall hitter than Juan Uribe but Uribe is a much better defender. Young is also better than Placido Polanco, Jerry Hairston, Jr. and Brandon Inge and has more experience at third than Kelly Johnson who I wrote about earlier. Young should at least get a phone call from Cashman because he is the best option right now.