Third week of the Yankees offseason, Joe Girardi is back under contract, the free agent market is still weeks away from opening, so all eyes shift back to Alex Rodriguez and his various fights against Major League Baseball.
Rodriguez’s appeal hearing to settle his Biogenesis suspension is scheduled to resume on Wednesday, and he is also 10 days away from his first scheduled court appearance in his lawsuit against Major League Baseball, the one in which Rodriguez claims the league has engaged in a “witch hunt” to keep him out of baseball and limit his earning capacity.
Plenty of opportunities to focus on Rodriguez this week, and when the focus is on Rodriguez, that means much of the focus is also on the possibility of re-investing his salary — and also replacing him on the field — next season.
“If people think there’s some sort of benefit by losing that talent, I mean, you can’t replace it,” Brian Cashman said Sunday on Ian O’Connor’s radio show. “… It’s not like going down to a Home Depot and pulling something out that you need that broke and you need to fix it. So ultimately, from a baseball operations standpoint — taking out all the areas of controversy — having Alex Rodriguez man third base is obviously by far the best option for the Yankees than what the alternatives would be in theory, but we’ll have to wait and see if we have to look for alternatives or not.”
It’s an argument that’s both true, and still hard to really buy.
Cashman is probably right about replacing the production. When Rodriguez was healthy this season — after he returned from the disabled list, before his legs gave out again — he was a legitimately productive third baseman, probably more productive than whoever the Yankees can find to replace him. The best-case scenario for having Rodriguez in the lineup is awfully good, and finding a can’t-miss replacement is awfully difficult.
But Rodriguez’s health is still in question, his production is no sure thing, and he brings a series of non-baseball headaches. It might not be easy to replace him, but paying him is no walk in the park either.
Associated Press photo