Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Yanks Mull Third-Base Options

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Yanks Mull Third-Base Options

Article excerpt

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Finding Alex Rodriguez's replacement is no longer a down-the-road issue. The Yankees need a new third baseman, and they need one now.

Baseball's Winter Meetings began Monday with the revelation that A-Rod could be lost for half the 2013 season due to another hip surgery, tentatively scheduled for mid-January.

That ratcheted up the heat on general manager Brian Cashman, already searching for a right fielder, a catcher and role players to fit the suddenly frugal Yankees' remaining budget.

"Right now, with what I have, my job is to go for better," Cashman said of his third base situation. "It's not an easy position to fill."

A thin free-agent market for third basemen starts with the Kevin Youkilis, though Jeff Keppinger and Brandon Inge are more likely candidates since Cashman sees third base as a stopgap situation.

"We're going to get Alex back at some point," said Cashman, who has known since mid-November that Rodriguez required surgery. "I think once he's fixed, we'll see someone who's more than capable and above average at the position."

Until then, the GM is prepared, though reluctant, to go with in- house candidates such as Eduardo Nunez - still viewed as a shortstop by the club.

A bold solution would be to engage in trade talks for San Diego's Chase Headley, last season's NL RBI leader, though he's two years away from free agency and would command a staggering price.

Even free agent Marco Scutaro seems a challenging target coming off his terrific postseason with the world champion Giants.

Slugging free agent Mark Reynolds had a rough year defensively in limited time at third base for Baltimore last year. The Yanks have inquired about free-agent shortstop Stephen Drew, limited since ankle surgery in 2011.

Still, the Yanks can't just simply re-sign veteran Eric Chavez, the injury-prone free agent who served as Rodriguez's primary backup last season.

And Cashman instantly shot down any notion that Derek Jeter could be moved to third base, coming off a fractured left ankle suffered during the playoffs. …

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