Third base in the short-term


(REUTERS/Robert Sorbo)

Day one without Alex Rodriguez went well, as the Yankees mounted their league-leading 31st come-from-behind win to take the series from the Mariners. Starting third baseman Eric Chavez went 0-for-2 with a strikeout and a pair of walks (one intentional) while presumed platoon partner Jayson Nix came off the bench to hit the go-ahead three-run double in the eighth inning. The seven-game West Coast trip went about as poorly as possible, but at least they picked up that nice little win before coming.

As I said, Chavez and Nix are expected to platoon at the hot corner either until the Yankees either make a trade or get A-Rod back from the DL. Obviously Chavez’s penchant for getting hurt is a concern, especially with the increased workload. As the left-handed hitter in the platoon, he’ll see the majority of the playing time at third. Here’s a quick look at the projected opposing starting pitchers for the next two series…

  • Friday vs. Red Sox: RHP Aaron Cook
  • Saturday vs. Red Sox: LHP Jon Lester
  • Sunday vs. Red Sox: LHP Felix Doubront
  • Monday vs. Orioles: RHP Miguel Gonzalez
  • Tuesday vs. Orioles: RHP Chris Tillman
  • Wednesday vs. Orioles: LHP Zach Britton

Now obviously these things are subject to change, especially with the trade deadline looming, but the next six games project to feature three right-handed and three-left-handed opposing starters. Chavez won’t have to start more than two consecutive games — next Monday and Tuesday — for at least a week. The Mariners come to town after the series with Baltimore and if they trade southpaw Jason Vargas as rumored, they’ll likely have five right-handed starters in their rotation. After that the Yankees are off to Detroit for four games and they have five right-handers in their rotation since Drew Smyly is on the DL. That’s when things will get tricky with the platoon and resting Chavez.

The trade deadline is 4pm ET on Tuesday, so the Yankees have plenty of time to swing a (major or minor) deal for a third baseman. I get the sense that Eduardo Nunez will eventually be back to replace Ramiro Pena, perhaps even as soon as tomorrow, and will get a chance to man the position regularly. The Yankees didn’t call him up yesterday just because of the travel and the timing — by not going to Seattle he’ll be able to play in two Triple-A games (yesterday and today) instead of zero big league games. Even if they leave Nunez down for a few more days, the schedule works in their favor through this weekend and early next week as far as not overtaxing Chavez.

Categories : Bench


  1. chuck says:

    I am never booing Arod ever again after witnessing how bad people boo him on the road.. Jeter he gets booed but it is one that increases more next at bat after a hit. A screw you for doing well. But oakland booed arod like they wanted him hit by a bus later that day.

  2. Susan says:

    Is there a reason no one is mentioning Prado as a possible third base target? Seems like he’d be a good fit and didn’t the Braves have a ridiculous crush on Nunez? I know the Braves are still contending but any idea what it would take to get him?

    • William says:

      Braves won’t part with prado unless they get a really good prospect. Like Tyler austin or Sanchez.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      They were said to be shopping Prado in the offseason, but he’s having a very good season and now they are said to be trying to extend him. That’s why no one is mentioning him, I’d guess.

      They were said to be interested in Nunez, don’t know that it was a “ridiculous crush.”

    • blake says:

      Prado is the Braves’s 3B next year….they are more likely to extend him at this point than to trade him.

  3. Smart Guy says:

    dante bichete jr!

  4. Ted Nelson says:

    I can see them calling up Nunez, but at the same time they sent him down specifically so that he could stop playing 3B. That might change as circumstances have changed, or it might not.

    • fin says:

      Cashmen said that Nunez isnt currently on the radar for 3b, so we can take that for what its worth. I agree its pretty hard to guess at what the Yankees are going to do with Nunez. Going by their statements I would guess Nunez is going to stay in AAA and get every day playing time at SS for the next month or so. He can always be called up if the Chavez/Nix platoon is awful or Chavez gets hurt.

    • Tim says:

      They sent him down to focus on one position and that happened to be SS. But in this situation he would be coming up to mainly play one position so they probably feel he could settle his defense. He won’t have to be at different positions each day like early in the season.

      • Need Pitching (and maybe hitting too) says:

        It seemed like 3B was his worst defensive position though. I’d guess if they were seriously considering him for the 3B mix, they’d play him at 3B on a regular basis in the minors to see how he handles it before he was thrown into it at the MLB level.

        I wouldn’t be shocked if he was eventually called up to replace Pena as backup middle IF though. That would be a relatively small role, though, so they may just let Nunez play everyday in the minors until Sept.

        • jim p says:

          Well, SS has to be with an eye on a future with no Jeter, I’d guess. More than he can’t play 2nd or 3rd.

      • Ted Nelson says:

        They pretty much said he was sent down to not play 3B. They said he could play SS or 2B when they first sent him own.

  5. CT Yanks says:

    I agree with resting Chavez, but you are overselling the platoon based on Girardi and Cashman’s comments. Both have been pretty clear in what I’ve read that Chavez is the starter getting occasional rest vs. a lefty and that it’s not a platoon situation.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      That’s not much different from what a platoon is. The LH side of a platoon gets like 2/3 the playing time. Given how much Chavez has to go through just to get ready for games and stay loose during them, I can’t really see him playing more than 3/4 of the time. Even that seems a little reckless.

      • CT Yanks says:

        by occasional rest, I mean the head honchos have been clear he’s starting vs. righties and getting time vs. lefties which is less than a platoon. Anyway, I’m worried he’ll break but Mike’s write up makes it sound like a pure platoon which is not what Girardi and Cash have said.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          I don’t think Chavez will be an everyday starter, but we’ll see.

        • DM says:

          Girardi is WFAN right now. He said Chavez/Nix platoon — and went further to say that Chavez won’t play more than 3 days in a row in the field.

  6. It's a Long Way to the Bronx (If You Wanna Hirok 'N' Roll) says:

    I love Chavez as much as the next guy, and his contributions have been greatly appreciated this year, but his health, as always scares me. Remember a few months again, where he said it was a challenge to prepare for each day? That doesn’t sound like someone who will likely get four to five starts a week as the lefty half of a platoon. Nunez is fine if his bat is serviceable, but it would behoove the team to at least pick up a low cost option for the time being.

  7. Eddard says:

    Chavy and Nixy will be a great platoon, possibly as good as Jones and Ibanez. One of them was already the hero yesterday. Wouldn’t be surprised to see Chavy be the hero in the Boston series. There will be a different hero almost every night. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ichy have a great YS debut on Friday night. Don’t trade the farm for Headley and don’t get a stop gap in Wigginton, just hold serve with what we have.

    • Deep Thoughts says:

      But Headley even has the nickname built into his name! Or would he be Chasey?

    • BK2ATL says:

      You mean Jonsy and Ibaney (or Raulie)….

      The NY media needs to stop giving him a pass for this.

      We don’t need Headley nor Willingham. IF they decide to do something, Scutaro (2B, SS, 3B) or Jerry Hairston Jr could replace Nix in that.

      I do think we’ll get by fine with Chavez/Nix though.

  8. DM says:

    “Chavez won’t have to start more than two consecutive games — next Monday and Tuesday — for at least a week.”

    And they have an off-day on Thurs as well.

  9. MannyGeee says:

    yeah, these guys are going to be the band aid for at least the time being…

    I could, however, see Scutaro being a trade candidate, especially after Tuesday (Waiver Trade – he’s expensive enough to pass through waivers I would think…)

    • Ted Nelson says:

      I doubt Scutaro would pass through waivers. He’s a capable starting SS. A lot of teams don’t have one. He’ll be owed maybe $2 million at that point, with no commitment for 2013.

      I would think that between the Dodgers, Braves, As, and Pirates there’s no way he clears.

      • Jacob says:

        Would not cost much in a trade though, tbh ramiro pena could get the job done or maybe russo.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          I don’t think he would cost too much, but I think it would be more than that. There are a lot of teams that could use him, so I think it would get bid up higher than that.

    • Gonzo says:

      He’s horrendous with the bat away from Coors this year (sub-.300 OBP and SLG). And he is 36.

      Obviously this is a situation where the Yanks scouting department would weigh in heavily. Is he a different player at age 36? slowing bat? can’t recognize certain pitches? etc…

  10. LiterallyFigurative says:

    I hope they bring up Nunez, and let him get some games at 3B, even against RHP. Since playing Chavez regularly is a big issue due to his health, having a decent offensive player in the mix would mitigate some of the lost offense.

    Vs. LHP


  11. Jacob says:

    George Kottaras and Marco Scutaro….

  12. I personally think that Cash needs to look outside the organization for 3B help. There are major flaws in everybody’s game that is currently on the 40 man that can play third base. Chavez, as good as he has been this season is the most injury prone player I’ve seen in pinstripes in my young life (I’m 22). Nunez, while athletic and very good with the bat was so bad defensively that even I lost faith. (I was a huge backer of giving Nunez playing time before the season, and even into the season.) Pena is great defensively but he makes Chris Stewart look like an all-star with the bat. Finally Jason Nix. He’s been below average (86wRC+) this season in limited playing time and I still think he’s playing way over his head personally. I’m not saying that Cashman should throw the entire farm at San Diego for Chase Headley, but I do think he should at least pull one of his Ra’s Al Ghul type ninja moves and get a righty who can at least platoon with Chavez and maybe be able to hit against a weaker righty to give Chavez some extra rest. I really really really want Chase Headley though, I’m not going to lie about that.

    • Jacob says:

      Love Headley but not would it taes to get him, Scutaro probably my second option, Doubt the chavez/nix platoon will work even if chavez stays healthy

      • I definitely wouldn’t mind Scutaro but I was lookin at his B-Ref page either yesterday or the day before and he hasn’t played meaningful innings at third in like 4 years. I agree though that the Chavez/Nix won’t work even if Chavez stays healthy, but that’s more of a knock on Nix than anything. I strongly dislike him.

        • Jacob says:

          Yea that is the big nocks against him I saw on his page a few mins ago, but he is the 2nd best option and honestly would not take much. Another player I thought about is Jose lopez the joba killer, has some pop and can play third (and I do beleive he can [lay it well but I could be thinking of someone else) wonde if cleveland is willing to part with him

    • Rooting for U.S. Steel says:

      “Chavez, as good as he has been this season is the most injury prone player I’ve seen in pinstripes in my young life…”

      I must introduce you to Nick Johnson sometime. He’s had more MRIs than you’ve had breakfasts.

  13. Harris says:

    With no chance of Yankees lose the division why not just go with Chavez and Nix at third. There’s no reason to trade quality prospects for a regular season rental who does not change our position heading into the playoffs.

    • Jacob says:

      There is definately a chance the Yankees do not even make the postseason,it is small but there is always a chance. And the chance they do not even win the division is a fair size

      • LiterallyFigurative says:

        And we were doomed when Pineda (and Mo, and Gardner, and Joba when he fell off the trampoline, and Andy and CC) got hurt.

        I would prefer a Chavez and Nix/Laird/Nunez platonn at 3B for a month and a half over trading any good prospects for Chase Headley. He’s not a need.

        • I think there is some merit to Headley being a need, albeit not a true desperate need. Odds are that the earliest we will see Alex again is early to mid September (after the minor league season ends) which means he’s only going to have 2 weeks to get his swing back before the post season. That’s being overtly optimistic about his return. More than likely he’ll be gone till there is about 1 week left in the season, which is even less time for him to get back into true playing shape for the post season.

          Looking towards the future, next season Alex is going to be 37 years old and even further into the decline we’ve been seeing the last couple of seasons. He’s still a pretty good offensive and defensive third baseman, don’t get me wrong, but Headley on the other hand would be entering his “prime years” as a switch hitting third baseman whose offensive and defensive game already outstrip Alex’s. I know that the Yankees don’t like having a set DH but there is coming a time that if we want Alex to stay healthy and hit in 145-155 games a year a good 75% of that is going to have to be at DH. Next year could be the start of that.

          • Ted Nelson says:

            And even if ARod is still the primary 3B in 2013, they might think Headley can play RF next season.

            I wouldn’t say he’s a “need…” but it might still be a trade that makes sense. Probably not given the likely price, but maybe.

            • After seeing how much prospects can wavier the last couple of years I’ve become a lot less of a prospect hugger. From IPK’s success, to Joba being pigeon-holed to the BP, to Hughes’ inconsistency, to Noesi and to a lesser extent Montero bombing in Seattle, to AJax, and Gardner, and Melky, and Nova I’ve learned that if you have the chance to upgrade your team with a proven commodity by giving up an unproven commodity you should do it just about every time.

              • Ted Nelson says:

                That sounds to me like going too much to the opposite extreme. You can’t “hug” prospects, but you do need to get good trade value. Not just give up any prospect for any proven guy. Especially due to the financial advantages of young players as the Yankees move towards the $189 million budget.

                It’s all about expected value going forward in terms of net present value. Prospects have a lot more volatility than proven players (though most “proven” players have a fair amount of volatility themselves), but they still have value.

                • I guess I came across a little stronger than I wanted to, because I basically agree with you. When I say ‘just about every time’ I’m not saying that we should trade Mason Williams for George Kottaras just because he’s probably available and we need a catcher. I’m saying that if the chance comes along to upgrade your team substantially (getting a CC level pitcher, or a Justin Upton/Chase Headley type position player) that your love for an unproven player should not stand in the way of making that deal.

      • Eddard says:

        Harris is right. The chance of not winning the division is 0. We could go .500 the rest of the way and the Rays/Os would have to win 40 more ballgames to tie. There’s just no way. Division’s over.

  14. Jacob says:

    If they don’t make a trade I have a hard time seeing them not giving Laird a try, honestly I would have brought him up before pena

  15. Roy says:

    There’s an eight week problem with offense at 3B and an ongoing problem with offense at Catcher. Why not live with Chavez/Nix/Pena-Nunez at 3B and upgrade at Catcher. Add some wOBA at C to offset the loss of wOBA at 3B. This improves the Yankees for the 2012 postseason and 2013, as well.

    • Need Pitching (and maybe hitting too) says:

      The problem is C’s that are a definite upgrade over Martin either aren’t available or would be ridiculously costly in terms of what they would have to give up in trade. They should be able to upgrade over Stewart, but that likely wouldn’t make a huge difference, and they may just wait until September and use Cervelli. I actually think it might be best to look for an OF/DH upgrade over Ibanez to offset the loss of offense. OF/DH upgrades would likely be easier to find, cheaper in terms of prospects given up, and could be an option for Swisher replacement next season.

      • http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/.....nment.html

        Idk much about Kottaras, but his numbers this season have been much better than Martin’s or Stewart’s offensively, and with how poor both have played defensively as well he couldn’t be that much of a downgrade. Also, as he’s been DFA’d he couldn’t possibly cost that much.

        • Need Pitching (and maybe hitting too) says:

          I’d definitely be interested in Kottaras as an upgrade over Stewart, and it seems like he would be a good platoon match with Martin.
          Odd that he was DFA’d though. I’d imagine there will be several teams interested, so he might not come as cheap as you’d expect with a DFA’d player. Either that or there is some glaring problem with him that we’re both missing.

          • I think it’s really just because they activated Lucroy and they want him to get a bulk of the playing time.

            • Need Pitching (and maybe hitting too) says:

              Sure, I’m just surprised they went the DFA route instead of just finding a trade partner before then. Seems like there would be plenty of interest, and the DFA might reduce their leverage in trade negotiations a little bit.

              • As you said, because of the dearth of catching available DFA’d or not he’s probably going to garner a lot of interest. They probably want to wait as long as possible to pull a deal for him, like 3:59 on deadline day to get as much back as possible. It just turned out that Lucroy came back before the deadline and there wasn’t any other way to make room most likely.

    • RI$P FTW says:

      Posada to 1B/C
      Seixy Teixy to 3B/1B
      Bernie to RF! (anything to get him to stop making music)

      Problem solved!

  16. RI$P FTW says:


    He would trade the farm for Youkilis, then sign him to a 10 yr $200 million deal.

    Thank god he’s dead.

  17. 28 in 2012 says:

    Anyone wants to see CoJo get a shot?

  18. Robinson Tilapia says:

    BK2ATL and I will be flying a prop plane over YS3 today and spelling out the names “Scutaro” and “Hairston” in smoke. We could add “Kottaras” to that, but we’d need to make a collection from you all in order to do so.

    • Jacob says:

      Please do it man, I was going to run Kottaras by you to see your thoughts, I will donate $200

    • The only reason I’m not too high on Scutaro is the fact that he hasn’t played third in a good couple years. However the idea of Joe G to have to call him “Marky” because Scutaro-y doesn’t really work, and the fact that we could then refer to him as Marky-Mark is kind of awesome.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        I’ve said this before, but my mother-in-law loves Scutaro. He must have had a great game against the Yanks once while in Oakland because she always thinks he’s some great superstar.

  19. chuck says:

    Well I like Nix.. thats my vote. His numbers aren’t amazing but I think they’ll stay afloat. I was impressed with how hard his contact was when I saw him. Nunez is good too, but he has to quit the chuck knoblauch impressions.
    If the yankees were to make a trade id hope they would find someway to upgrade at catcher rather than 3b. I can’t stand watching stewart or martin. Chase Headley is a good player, but unless they’re convinced on making arod permanent dh next season its not worth it… and Arod seems still play great defense.

    • “Well I like Nix.. thats my vote. His numbers aren’t amazing but I think they’ll stay afloat. I was impressed with how hard his contact was when I saw him”

      Suzyn Waldman, is that you?!

      • I’m kidding of course, but Nix is terrible. He’s barely average defensively (at any position) and is well below that with the bat. He has a career .288wOBA and 71wRC+

        • Robinson Tilapia says:

          I’d rather Nix than overpay, but I don’t think some folks seem to get that this is less about “getting by” and making sure there’s a quality bench ready for the stretch and, hopefully, playoff runs. While no one will die if Jayson Nix spells Eric Chavez a bit for the next month, that’s not going to cut it for me once the playoffs, again, hopefully, begin. I’d like an upgrade there.

          • If Alex’s injury were to have happened mid June, and he’s gone 8 weeks, not a big deal. However his injury couldn’t have happened at a worse time. The trade deadline is 5 days away, and the earliest he’s expected back is mid September. In other words, after the waiver deadline as well. There will also be only two weeks for him to get his swing back for the playoffs. I’d much rather have someone there to take the pressure off of Alex, allow him to DH and hit down in the order while he gets that sing back. Which we saw last season might take a while.

        • chuck says:

          he’s been okay so far for us at third base.. better than nunez. if the options are ty wiggington and chase headley id wait it out given the price for chase. Rather Nix than ramiro pena who seems overwhelmed at the plate.
          And we lost a solid player in arod.. but not a huge home run hitter. He hasn’t been that for awhile. With the bases he was stealing he could have done alright leading off.. if Ichiro pans out than I think that picks up some of the weight.. I hope they change arods spot in the line up when he gets back.

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