Could This Be The End Of Rodriguez At Third Base?

Another year deeper into Alex Rodriguez‘ 10 year contract, and we’re already on his second hip surgery. The 37 year old third baseman is in a perpetual decline, and health isn’t helping much. While he’s dealt with some fluke injuries over the last two years, Rodriguez is barely starting half the games at third base. In 2013, he’ll be lucky to start on the field for a couple of months, as the team only plans for him to return in June or July.

When Rodriguez returns to baseball next season, he could very well have already turned 38 already, and coming off his second major hip surgery, amongst a number of other leg problems in recent years. Assuming he’s able to make a full recovery, and cartilage damage hasn’t dampened his range, he’ll still be a valuable fielder at the hot corner. The Yankees still have $114 million invested in him though, and pushing him any further on the field may carry a huge risk for his future.

No team wants to lose the type of glove he possesses at third base, but at what cost? If it’s true that his most recent hip injury impacted the way he hit in the playoffs, what’s to say his string of leg problems hasn’t influenced the last two sub-.500 slugging seasons? I wouldn’t bet against it, and as he ages, his ability to recover will only degrade.

This could be the year he becomes the team’s designated hitter, considering he’s only played half the games at third base over the last two years . Doing so protects his legs, his bat, and a $114 million investment. With the amount of games we saw Jayson Nix and Eduardo Nunez play last season, replacing third base with a legitimate and productive starter would prevent below average players from getting months worth of starts.

It would seem that the Yankees have more important positions fill this winter, but trading for a longterm third baseman doesn’t appear so crazy with the type of resources they have tied up in Rodriguez. From where it stands, the organization lacks a serviceable third base option in Triple-A or Double-A. They’re going to have to go somewhere else, and as I pointed out yesterday, the rumor about acquiring a third baseman have largely contradicted themselves. It seems that Cashman is purposefully leaking misinformation.

There are some signs on the rumor-mill that indicate the team is looking to simply upgrade at third base, but then why didn’t they ever seriously consider Eric Chavez? With Mark Reynolds and Kevin Youkilis available as free agents, the Yankees could have easily re-signed Chavez and one of the former for a cheap one-year platoon. But the team didn’t even bother making an offer. The same is true for Jeff Keppinger, where the team reportedly offered him a three-year deal, but again didn’t make an offer. Who’s to say the same guy leaking bad information about Keppinger and Chavez hasn’t done the same with Youkilis and his recent offer from the Yankees?

With every stopgap infielder coming of the board, there seems to be a growing likelihood that the team is looking in a different direction than just upgrades. Moving on from Rodriguez at third base makes a lot of sense for the future, but I’m still left wondering who could be available. Maybe the Royal’s desperation to win this season forces them to trade Mike Moustakas for a deal centered around that Curtis Granderson and Phil Hughes package that’s been supposedly floating around. Or maybe the organization targets a young near-MLB ready prospect like Jedd Gyorko or Mike Olt. We’ll have a better idea of the organization’s plan once we learn Youkilis’ decision.

Mike is the co-Editor-in-Chief of It's About The Money. Outside of blogging baseball, Mike is also a musician, a runner, and a beer lover.

8 thoughts on “Could This Be The End Of Rodriguez At Third Base?

  1. Mike

    How about Cano to Texas for Olt & Aybar or profar, then flip the SS & Nova or Hughes to Arizona for Upton. Solves OF & 3B for cheap money. Texas can still sign Hamilton and gets an All-Star in Cano, Ariz gets there SS and a # 4/5 S.P. Win/Win for all teams.

  2. How about 3 team trade for olt… Rangers get RA Dickey, send Olt to the Yankees and a b prospect to the Mets. Yankees send Hughes/Nova/ Phelps and b prospect to the Mets. Win/ win/ win

    • kazoome

      if you trade hughes,nova,and phelps just whom do you plan on being the 5-6 starters ???

      • webster

        Let me clarify,just one of the 3, and a B prospect. If the Mets wanna go with all minor leaguers in a package, than so be it. 2014 is gonna be another issue agreed, but when do the Yankees ever trust their minor leaguers (ie they always have a quick hook). But now that the Youkster is here, the point is moot.

    • Chris

      So the Rangers trade one of the best prospects in baseball for a 38 year old knuckleballer? That makes no sense at all, they’d be much better off trading Olt to Arizona for Upton.

      Also Mike there is no chance Texas trades both Olt and Profar for Cano, since they already have a 2nd baseman who they just extended long term. Plus if Arizona is trading Upton and the Rangers are trading Profar it makes much more sense for them to trade with each other. Then Texas doesn’t have to give a 32 year old Hamilton a long term deal and the Diamondbacks get a legit top SS prospect and not a terrible fielding Nunez.

      At this point I’m not sure if we can trade for Upton, the Diamondbacks are stacked in pitching and they have a catcher they just inked to an extension. The only chance would be if they see Sanchez as a future first baseman and you trade Sanchez, one or both of Williams and Austin, Nunez, and someone like Campos. You might even have to flip Granderson to another team to get a prospect they want, we simply aren’t as good a match as the Rangers.

  3. Chris

    Well maybe we can fleece Arizona for Upton afterall, Towers just traded Trevor Bauer for SS Didi Gregorious. Seems like a pretty terrible trade for Arizona considering where Bauer is ranked as a prospect.

  4. fuster

    Moustakas?????? A guy who needs a year more of development to reach replacement level???

    you want to trade actual players for him?

    signing Youkilis is too complicated?

  5. tanzo

    I believe that the Yankees need to make a final decision for 2014 by moving Jeter to 3B and A-Rod to full time DH and play Neunez at SS. Jeter is losing range and I don’t think that the hips will allow A-Rod to continue at the hot corner. Then in 2015 you can spend for a strong 3B.

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