Yesterday, the public tarring and banning of Alex Rodriguez formally began. It will peak this evening on 60 Minutes, when Anthony Bosch tells the free world about injecting A-Rod with steroids. This will be even uglier than the Golden Globes. Meanwhile, the Yankees just banked $25 million - actually more, without A-Rod's bonuses. Meanwhile, though, the 2014 team looks like a muddled mess of a meltdown.
The outfield bulges at the seams with old and/or fragile players. The pitching staff is a roll of the dice. (Seriously, are we supposed to think that Sabathia and Kuroda, both a year older, are still aces? Are we supposed to expect Nova to become a star? Be real) And the infield – well – the infield is Milwaukee on the Hudson.
At 1B, Teixeira will always be a wrist tweak away from Lyle Overbay returning to New York. At second, Brian Roberts is the Yankees version of the Make a Wish Foundation. At third, dear God, it’s anybody’s guess. (Remind me again why we released David Adams?) At shortstop, God bless him, is the Captain, battling the ravages of age and injury.
Between now and April Fool's Day, there will be trades. Fear them, the way rabbits fear wolves. Our situation nearly demands that Brett Gardner must go, and last year, after Robbie, he was our best position player. Not only that, but Gardner is a gamer. When you find one, you want to keep them. Finally, no GM ever trades with the Yankees unless it’s highway robbery: Their fan bases hate the Yankees too much. Yes, Cashman wrangled Nick Swisher a few years ago – but for every gain (never forget that Wilson Betemit, whom we traded for Swish, had a fine career), there is an Austin Jackson and Ian Kennedy out there, jabbing the needle into our sides.
A salary dump deal? Sure! We can always get another Vernon Wells. Why not just keep the one we had?
Right now, there is a possible solution to the infield mess, and it’s time has come. Derek Jeter should move to 3B, where the stress on his ankle will be far less. His range at SS has diminished, with an infamous numbers-cruncher study a few years ago claiming he covered the least ground of any SS in baseball. We have a good field-no hit SS in Brendan Ryan. But we have nobody to play 3B. It makes sense. The only thing standing in the way of it is Jeter.
Playing 3B extended Cal Ripken Jr.’s career by several years. It could do the same for Jeter. In the past, to even suggesting such a move has been greeting as blaspheme by the blogger trolls of the Yankiverse. But if this team looks like it was built by committee, it has been: Hal and Hank, Cashman and Fred Horowitz. We might as well add Jeter to the panel.
Everything could change. Maybe we'll sign Tanaka (though I'd watch Boston very carefully.) Right now, though, 2014 looks like a disaster. When you don’t have a farm system, there really isn’t much you can do.