Cashman says Yankees “can’t replace” A-Rod

Fan Confidence Poll: October 14th, 2013
What Went Wrong: Kevin Youkilis

During a recent radio interview, Brian Cashman acknowledged the obvious, that it’s really hard to replace Alex Rodriguez. “If it comes down to, would we want the player we signed to be playing that position without any problems? Absolutely, no question about that,” said the GM. “It’s not like, all right, well, Alex is gone. It’s not like, all right, we’ll take that money and go in this direction. It was not easy to plug holes [in 2013] because the talent just doesn’t exist.”

At age 38 and with two surgically repaired hips, A-Rod hit .244/.348/.423 (113 wRC+) in 181 plate appearances this year, right in line with last year’s production (also 113 wRC+). Only nine third baseman topped that output in at least 400 plate appearances this past season, so there aren’t many players out there who can contribute as much as old and crippled Alex. At least the guy he was the last two years, anyway. As we saw this year, finding good players is hard.

Meanwhile, Bill Madden says the Yankees are preparing for the offseason under the assumption that Rodriguez’s salary ($25M) will not be wiped off the books by suspension next season. That’s the right thing to do, obviously. The money isn’t off the books until MLB says it is off the books, and right now it doesn’t seem like official word is coming anytime soon. It stinks, their hands are going to be tied for a little while until they get some resolution, but that’s life.

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Fan Confidence Poll: October 14th, 2013
What Went Wrong: Kevin Youkilis
  • http://www.draftstreet.com/register.aspx?r=Jedile Jedile

    Man I wish we could throw $25M to the rays to rent Longo for a year (Yes I mean to rent him for a year and give him back after the season, make it all contractal and junk!). HMmm Longo. I’d even do the same deal for Wright.

    • MannyGeee

      We spend alot of time wanking over the idea of guys to replace A-Rod, even temporarily, with guys who are even less durable than the aforementioned A-Rod.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Still, though Rent-a-Ray would be awesome. I think it would fit in well with the rest of Tampa.

  • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

    Wow. Amazing that as old and banged up as he is, he’s still above average.

    Will there be an iternal replacement good enough to pinch run in the 7th or 8th and then play third for 2 innings? If you could take 25% of his workload off, maybe he’d last longer/stronger.

    This is going to be a mess…

    • KeithK

      It’s even possible to believe that if he were fully healed from the various injuries, with a full off-season, he could even be better than the last couple years. I know, decline phase and all but I’m not talking 2007 level better. Simply in terms of best results on the field (in 2014) the Yankees best option would be a fully healthy, age 39 Rodriguez in the lineup. He showed that in August.

    • ChrisS

      Yeah, he was still above-average for at least 181 plate appearances.

      Age hits players three different ways:

      A) Their physical skills decline beyond the point of an everyday player (Wells/Ichiro)

      B) They can still play, but their bodies can’t take the physical abuse anymore (Pronk and perhaps ARod/Jeter)

      C) A combination of both (playin’ in the Independent League).

      They had this issue last offseason. They wanted Drew to be a fill-in for both A-Rod and Jeter, but he wanted to be a full-time starter and not a caddy. The Yankees went with Nunez instead. It’s hard to get good talent that will ride the pine.

    • Laz

      Don’t even need someone amazing. Nix is sufficient if you are up by 2-3 runs in 8th inning, or 7th if he already batted.

  • Batsman

    Funny, but who did the Red Sox replace Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford with, again?

    • Batsman

      All in all, I think Cashman is just playing “office politics” here.

      • Need Pitching & Hitting

        I agree, but it is easier to replace 1B or corner OF than 3B.

        • radnom

          Doesn’t matter. This team has enough holes that the $25 million can be spent elsewhere and still provide more of an impact than Arod on the field would.

          Logically – would you sign Arod to a $25MM 1 year deal if he was a free agent? If your answer is no (which it should be), then the Yankees are indisputably better off if he is suspended.

          Cashman simply provided the only answer than would not result in a controversy.

          • I’m One

            +1

          • RetroRob

            The problem is he returns the following year, and budgets have to be planned a few years out. This is not a one-year issue.

            The issue is 189M. They should be able to have A-Rod and improve the other positions by spending additional money if they weren’t locking into 189, assuming they are.

          • http://twitter.com/#!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

            There’s a bit more too it than that. Say he’s suspended and they have 25 mil to play with. What adequate 3B can they find on a one year deal to replace him and what is added with the excess cash to improve the team? Many of these guys just aren’t really out there. They’re under contract, too expensive, or can’t be had on a one year deal.

            There’s more to look at than whether or not they’d sign him for 1 year/25M.

            • Need Pitching & Hitting

              They *should* be able to get more total production from $25M spend in the free agent market (even if spend entirely at other positions), than ARod could ever realistically provide them at this point in his career.

              Or they could spend about $25M combined on 2 years (maybe) of Vernon Wells and and 1 year of Kevin Youkilis.

    • A.D.

      Victorino and Napoli, who have outperformed both (in addition Crawford was basically just collecting check for much of 2012)

    • jjyank

      Free agents. Have you seen the list of FA third basemen this year?

      Yuniesky Betancourt (32)
      Wilson Betemit (32) – $3.2MM vesting option
      Jamey Carroll (40)
      Eric Chavez (36)
      Mark DeRosa (39) – $750K club option with a $25K buyout
      Jerry Hairston Jr. (38)
      Brandon Inge (37)
      Casey McGehee (31)
      Placido Polanco (38)
      Mark Reynolds (30)
      Juan Uribe (34)
      Kevin Youkilis (35)
      Michael Young (37)

      • Need Pitching & Hitting

        That’s a very unappealing list.

        • jjyank

          Indeed, that’s my point. Boston being able to go out and get Victorino and Napoli doesn’t mean the Yankees can go out and get a replacement third baseman.

          • http://twitter.com/#!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

            +1 Right on.

      • MannyGeee

        There are LOT of movies we’ve seen before in that bin…

        • Robinson Tilapia

          Casey McGehee was a short film.

      • http://twitter.com/#!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

        Honestly, I wouldn’t mind Juan Uribe at all. Doubt he’d come on a one year deal though.

    • Jon G

      Exactly – the year that the Yankees had the best record in the past many decades (1998), who was their third baseman..? Granted, we were stronger in other key positions, but bottom line is that we don’t need a star third baseman if we can find better options to fill other key holes…

  • http://www.twitter.com/_swarlesbarkley Mark Teixiera – Ghostbuster (formerly Drew)

    Even if Alex is coming back for a full season, it does not necessarily mean that the Yankees don’t need a contingency plan for if/when he does get hurt. Alex definitely slowed down and needed a few days to rest down the stretch (evident by him being strictly being a DH) but didn’t since the Yankees were fighting for their playoff lives. Mark Reynolds (lacking a better name due to not thinking about it all that much) should be a priority to sign, even with his putrid defense, he still has some pop in his bat which is more than you can say about Adams or Nunez.

    • jjyank

      Agreed, and I do think Reynolds would be a good signing.

  • Monty

    They should seriously look into signing Jhonny Peralta for 3 years. He can play both SS and 3B. Solid player all around. He’s 32 so I wouldn’t go too long but with the PED suspension they can probably get him for 3/24 which isn’t terrible.

    • Pee Wee Herman Ruth

      co-sign

    • MannyGeee

      Peralta is playing himself in to a raise and out of that 3/24 range, methinks.

      • Pee Wee Herman Ruth

        Good…at least if we are going to pay him…we know he’ll perform in the playoffs

        I know…SS

  • Captain Turbo

    You mean Jayson Nix isn’t our permanent third baseman for 2014? But he does something every game!

    • MannyGeee

      Professional. Baseball. Player.

  • Coolerking101

    Wait till the mediator takes 3 months to give a decision. Yes, I know the mediator is supposed to give a decision within 25 days, but the same rules that contain that requirement also suggest that mediation should have begun during the season. So clearly, the parties know things aren’t moving at the required pace. If the mediator doesn’t issue his ruling till late Dec or early January, the Yanks will miss out on a good chunk of the quality FAs.

    In that situation, rather than spend the money on crappy free agents, I believe Hal will fill a swimming pool with the 25 million dollars and go diving in it like Scrooge McDuck.

    • Big Pete’s House of Munch

      Big Pete advises against this.

    • Pee Wee Herman Ruth

      If an arbitrator, not mediator, is required to render a decision within a specified time period…then the arbitrator will, at least in my experience, abide by the time period (good for repeat business).

  • Robinson Tilapia

    This goes beyond whether they think they’re champion-y enough for the celery cap to matter. They’re not going to bring in a starting-caliber 3B until they know the expensive incumbent isn’t going to be here. Rob is right as well in that Alex doesn’t go away after next season either. Even with a “new” incumbent, the team has to figure out what the hell they do with the billionaire 40 year-old attempting his comeback in 2015.

    No matter what, they’re hands, while not fully tied, are somewhat tied here……and it sucks.

  • Joe

    How about Headley from San Diego , had a down year, however still has been an All Star and believe plays 3rd and SS, maybe better then Drew, Yankees can offer all those great prospects Cashman doesn’t want to trade. Yankees need to spend money and get creative to get younger and return to being competitive. Also if Gardner is so great see what you could get for him. Make some moves !!!

    • http://twitter.com/#!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

      Why trade Gardner? Did you see how things went after he got hurt?

  • blee

    Is there no way Jeter will attempt to play 3B next year?.. i’d like to put Jeter there where he can still use his strong arm and limited mobility.. and get a run-saving short stop..

    • http://twitter.com/#!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

      To answer that question, there is no way.