Who replaces A-Rod?

by Paul Raymond | Posted on Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

With the news that the New York Yankees will be without third baseman Alex Rodriguez you have to wonder who replaces him. Early indications are that he’ll be out six to eight weeks, pretty much most of the regular season. Yes, they’ve got Eric Chavez on the bench a guy who should fill in quite well, offensively and defensively BUT is that enough? Chavez has a history of getting hurt can the Yankees count on him to stay healthy for six to eight weeks? I’m not sure so who’s out there that can back him up in case of emergency?

“Tough break,” said Rodriguez. “I never thought fracture but it was. It’s tough.”

The Yankees did not give a timeline for his return but Eric Chavez, who in the short term at least will receive most of the playing time at third, suffered a similar injury in 2004 on his right hand.

“I broke the same [bone],” Chavez said. “I think it was eight weeks right on the day.” (Newsday)

One thing I’ve always admired about Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is that he doesn’t mind going for low risk, high reward veterans for his depth. He proved that again this week in trading for Ichiro to replace the injured Brett Gardner. Personally, I think he should do the same here to find a third base complement to Chavez.

I’ve found four potential trade targets, two with the Philadelphia Phillies, that I think would help the Yankees now, be free agents at the end of the year and not come close to taking a top 20 prospect. Since I mentioned the Phillies, we’ll go to Philly first.

PLACIDO POLANCO – People who know me may go whaaaaatttttt? I’ve had a lot of fun teasing Phillies fans about Polanco and the fact that their organization still believes in him as an everyday starter. Even so I have to say he’s a guy I wouldn’t mind having on my team in the role that the Yankees would need, a platoon guy at third and utility infielder. He’s still OK at the plate batting .255 this year with a .300 OBP but like the Yankees proved in the Ichiro deal, hitting is an after thought. His defense is still very respectable which as a backup is all they really need. If the Phillies were willing to deal he’s the only guy on my list that might cost a prospect with a chance of hitting the majors.

TY WIGGINTON – If the Yankees are looking to replace A-Rod’s offense then Wigginton would be a good fit. In 247 at-bats with the Phillies he’s hit nine homers with a .235 average and .307 OBP. His defense at the hot corner is absolutely atrocious but as an emergency backup then well it wouldn’t be a bad deal. He’d essentially replace Chavez’s bat off the bench.

SCOTT ROLEN – Scott’s having undeniably the worst year of his professional career, he’s batting .211 with four homers and nine doubles over 161 at-bats. That’s right he’s only appeared in 52 games as Todd Frazier has emerged as the Cincinnati Reds third baseman of the future. Rolen’s appeared in 12 games this month and is on fire, hitting .306 with a homer, triple and two doubles. His defense isn’t what it used to be, but like Ichiro he could be a guy who bounces back for one last chance at a championship before he retires.

MAICER IZTURIS – Out of the four this is the one that people will probably go really? Izturis? It’s probably the biggest long shot of the group too as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim currently hold the second Wild Card spot. Here’s the deal though Izturis isn’t a starter, he’s a utility back-up, a free agent after the season and also having the worst year of his career. He’s hitting .236 but does have an OBP of .320 so he does get on base. Most importantly though he’s still got the speed, something the Yankees lack. He’s stolen 13 bases and nine of his 42 hits have been for doubles. Being in the middle of a playoff race and a rival of the Yankees the price could be more then it should.

So there you go those are my four potential low cost players that the Yankees should target. I truly believe the Yankees shouldn’t target a big name as they brought Eric Chavez in for his exact reason, to replace A-Rod should he get hurt. All they need to do is get that emergency back-up.

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The more I think about things though I don’t think the Yankees need to make any trade, the answer is sitting in Single A, Tampa and that’s EDUARDO NUNEZ.

Eduardo was sent down to Triple A earlier in the season due to his defensive struggles. He never got to work on those as he’s been on the disabled list for a while with an injured thumb. He was just activated from the DL on July 23rd which is the reason he’s in Tampa. If the Yankees can deal with waiting a week or two for him to get back in shape then I really do think he’s their answer.

Nunez is the closest to a complete package out of the five players. He can hit, .294 average with a .356 OBP over 20 sporadic games. He can run, six stolen bases in 2012 and 30 steals over a career 162 games. His weakness is definitely his defense but with their current situation I’m sure it’s something the Yankees can deal with.

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So if you were Brian Cashman what would you do to address the situation?

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