Yankees News: Morneau, Lee, Rolen On New York’s Radar To Replace Teixeira?

on March 07 2013 11:26 AM
teixeira yankees injury
Mark Teixeira missed 39 games in 2012. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi

The 2013 MLB season hasn’t even started yet, and the New York Yankees have already suffered multiple major injuries.

First, Curtis Granderson went down with a broken forearm, and won’t return until at least early May. This week, Mark Teixeira strained his wrist, and is scheduled to miss between eight and 10 weeks.

Before the injuries, the Yankees lost a lot of production from last year. Nick Swisher, Raul Ibanez and Russell Martin took their 64 combined home runs elsewhere, as New York did not re-sign the free agents. Alex Rodriguez is still on the roster, but he’ll be out until at least the All-Star Break because of hip surgery.

Once Granderson went down, the Yankees decided to replace the outfielder with players on their current roster. With another star getting hurt, though, it may be time for general manager Brian Cashman to start exploring options in free agency. Teixeira has been a big part of the club’s offense for the past four years, averaging 34 home runs and 106 RBI per season.

A few players on New York’s bench can play first base, but none will come close to matching Teixeira’s production.

Dan Johnson and his .237 career batting average haven’t played more than 40 games in a season since 2007. Juan Rivera has some experience at first base, but if he gets playing time, it will likely be in the outfield to make up for the absence of Granderson. Travis Hafner used to be a first baseman, but he hasn’t played the field in six years.

Carlos Lee may be the best free agent available that can play the Yankees' latest vacant position. The veteran hit .264 with nine homers and 77 RBI last season. He hasn’t been willing to sign a cheap contract, but may change his mind if he remains without a job as the regular season gets closer.

Ken Davidoff of the New York Post suggests Scott Rolen as a possible option. The 37-year-old only hit .245 for the Cincinnati Reds in 2012, but  he might improve the Yankees lineup. Rolen is a career third baseman, but New York could shift Kevin Youkilis to first and put Rolen on the other side of the infield.

Moving Youkilis to first could also give Eduardo Nunez a chance to get more playing time. Nunez has shown promise at the plate, but manager Joe Girardi has been hesitant to play him because of his shaky fielding.

If the Yankees are unwilling to live with their mediocre options for 10 weeks, they could look to make a trade. Justin Morneau is set to be a free agent at year’s end, and the Minnesota Twins won’t likely be a playoff contender. Phil Mackey of 1500 ESPN in Minnesota states that the Twins might be willing to deal the former MVP for prospects.

New York will start the season on April 1 against the Boston Red Sox. Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter, who both suffered season-ending injuries in 2012, will be ready for Opening Day.

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