After we found out the severity of A-Rod’s hip injury last week, Ben wrote up possible replacements, headed by Mark Grudzielanek. Once surgery became a certainty, Mark Teahen’s name popped up in the conversation. Either one could help bridge the gap separating the start of the regular season and the start of A-Rod’s season. At that point, both players could become valuable parts of a potentially strong Yankees bench. Yet Ken Rosenthal doesn’t think that the Yanks will seek an external replacement, not when the third baseman is slated to miss as few as 23 games — though Will Carroll thinks he could check in ahead of schedule.
A simple four-week replacement for A-Rod might not be the most prudent roster move it were for that sole purpose. Why pay millions, plus players in a possible trade, if you’re getting your All-Star third baseman back after just a month of the season? As I’ve argued before, the move would strengthen the bench after A-Rod’s return, making a move a bit more likely. Teahen would be ideal is that situation, since he can play more positions than Grudzielanek.
In addition to those guys are players who are in camp on minor league deals who could get the axe or opt out of their deals between now and the beginning of the season. The only name I can think of off the top of my head is Morgan Ensberg, and I’m not sure the Yanks want to try that again after last year’s failed experiment. Plus, if he plays well enough to indicate that he can play in the majors, he could very well catch on with the Rays — though they do have Willy Aybar blocking him. Other than that, can anyone else think of some minor league contract guys who could serve the Yanks’ purposes?
This is all to say that I think a short-term replacement would be a good idea now if that player can slide to the bench after A-Rod’s return, preferably filling in at many positions rather than just as a utility infielder. If a free player or a trade makes any degree of sense in that regard, I’d like to see Cashman pounce on it.