The saga continues.
Alex Rodriguez’s suspension has been reduced from 211 games to 162 games, though he may lose more than just the 2014 season. It’s unlikely any team will be interested in a 39-year-old third-baseman that’s a year removed from the Majors and comes with a sideshow. Suffice to say, A-Rod’s playing days may be over.
Brian Cashman stated the New York Yankees were planning to have Rodriguez in the lineup and his salary on the books. Nevertheless, they seem to have been preparing for this outcome by adding infielders Kelly Johnson, Dean Anna and most recently Scott Sizemore. Eduardo Nunez also saw significant time at the hot corner in 2013.
From a performance perspective, Rodriguez was definitely the best option at third base. From a monetary perspective, however, there is a silver lining (or rather, the green lining) for the Yankees. As a result of the suspension, they will save $25 million in salary.
According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Yankees will not be using this money to sign another third baseman (at least not to a major league contract) effectively taking the team out of the running for Michael Young and Stephen Drew.
Per source, #Yankees most likely will NOT add another infielder on major-league deal. That would eliminate Michael Young, Stephen Drew, etc.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 12, 2014
Let’s hope Rosenthal is correct.
It would be idiotic for the Yankees to take the money they just saved on one aging third baseman and blow it on another one like Young. He batted .279 in 2013 between the Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers with eight home runs and 46 RBI. Those are great numbers for a platoon player, but the 37-year-old did it at the price of an All-Star (a whopping $16 million).
Over the past few seasons, the Yankees have made a habit of overpaying aging veterans. They cannot repeat the same mistake with Young. The only thing he could bring to the Yankees that the team lacked in 2013 is name recognition.
Drew will be 31 at the start of next season, but he too would cost too much money. He turned down the Boston Red Sox’s qualifying offer (one-year, $14 million) for a better deal in free agency. He hasn’t gotten it so far, and the Yankees shouldn’t be the ones to give it to him.
Drew had a good season with Boston in 2013 (.253/.333/.443, 13 home runs, 67 RBI), but he’s not worth Scott Boras’ asking price. He also wouldn’t be a good fit with the Yankees. First of all, he’s never played third base in the Majors. Secondly, signing him would cost a draft pick. Finally, he would bring controversy as the former Red Sox shortstop would probably be Derek Jeter’s future replacement.
The only free agent third baseman who might be worth a major league contract is Mark Reynolds. He only made $6 million in 2013 and has plenty of experience at both corner infield positions. Thus, he could also provide insurance at first base should Mark Teixeira face another injury-shortened season.
Rodriguez may have been the team’s best third baseman, but he was not worth the price of $25 million. Now that the Yankees will be without his services and his price tag in 2014 the best option would be to reinvest A-Rod’s cash in the starting rotation. Say, towards the highly-coveted Masahiro Tanaka?