After several weeks of speculation, Alex Rodriguez has been suspended through the end of next season for taking performance-enhancing drugs and his role in the Biogenesis scandal. Even though he reportedly will appeal the decision, the veteran isn’t expected to be allowed to play in the majors next year.
With A-Rod out, New York will need to find someone that can start at third on a consistent basis. In Rodriguez’s absence in 2013, the club has received incredibly poor production from the position. The Yankees third basemen have combined to hit .215 with four home runs and 32 RBI. The likes of Kevin Youkilis, Jayson Nix and David Adams have attempted to fill the void left by Rodriguez, but none have been successful.
The Yankees could make a trade in the offseason to fill the position, but with the top third baseman not likely to be dealt, New York’s best bet may be in free agency. Michael Young was a player that the Yankees tried to acquire at the July 31 deadline, but they couldn’t get a deal done. In the offseason, though, Young can sign with whatever team he chooses and New York won’t have to negotiate with another general manager.
There had been questions about whether or not the veteran would want to play in the Bronx, but Young was ready to accept a trade to the Yankees. The 36-year-old is passed his prime, but he’s still a serviceable on the hot corner. Through 104 games with the Philadelphia Phillies, Young is hitting .273 with eight home runs, and has eight errors in 92 games playing at third base. He might be the perfect potential signing for New York, since they may be able to get him on a one-year contract and let him go when Rodriguez returns in 2015.
Most of the top third basemen are still under contract next year, so the Yankees could try to look for an infielder that can switch positions. Young’s teammate, Chase Utley, is set to be a free agent in the offseason. He’s been reportedly discussing a two-year extension with the club, but could fit well in New York if he hits the open market.
Utley has never played at third base in the big leagues, but he’s considered moving to third and even worked on it during his rehab. Towards the end of last year, the Phillies looked into having Utley change positions. That idea was nixed, however, when the regular season came to an end.
The 34-year-old has been one of the best second baseman in the MLB over the past decade. His biggest flaw has been his inability to remain healthy. Utley hasn’t played more than 115 games since 2009. This year, he has hit 15 home runs with a .269 batting average through 82 games.
If the Yankees are looking to get a cheap option at third base in their quest to keep their payroll under $189 million, Miguel Tejada could be a possibility for them. After not playing in 2012, Tejada has been a pleasant surprise for the Kansas City Royals, hitting .304 in 47 games, 22 of which he has played at third.