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.