Friday, March 13, 2009

Yankees won't be Held for Ransom

It remains to be seen whether Cody Ransom is indeed the temporary fix at third base while Alex Rodriguez convalesces. (George King of the Post has more on Ransom.) He's certainly going to get the chance based on the spring he's had thus far, but if turns out that A-Rod will miss much more time than the expected 6-9 weeks, Brian Cashman, despite public statements, will be looking elsewhere for someone to man the hot corner.

Let's take a look at who might be available if the Yankees feel a 33-yr old journeyman isn't their answer on the left side of the infield.

Mark Teahen
It's the name that has been thrown out there most often. Teahen came up as a third baseman, and has also played first base and right field. The 27-yr old has had an up and down four year career in the majors.

His rookie season was nothing to write home about it - .246-7-55 and a .685 OPS- but Teahen's sophomore year was a big improvement. A .290 average, 18 home runs, 69 RBI, and an .874 OPS gave Royals fans a player to hang their hopes on.

Teahen put up another good average .285 in year three, but his power suddenly dropped off - just 7 home runs in 2007. Of more of a concern, were a career high 127 strikeouts.

Last season was a combination of Teahen's entire career. The power returned- 15 home runs, but his average dipped back down to .255 and he had even more strikeouts, 131, than the prior year.

Teahen's career is at a crossroads right now. Is he an every day player or a high power/high strikeout guy platoon or bench player?

With Teahen making over $3.5 million a season, the Royals would like to move him.

Bobby Crosby
Crosby's career has been filled with injuries since he hit 22 home runs as a rookie 2004. He's only topped 100 games once (2008) in the ensuing four years. The A's brought in Orlando Cabrera to play shortstop this season, so Oakland is giving Crosby a look at third base, which serves two purposes.

Eric Chavez has a chronic bad back, so Crosby could see a lot of playing time at his new position. Billy Beane knows another position will also give Crosby more trade value. (Beane also knows in hindsight that he should never have signed Crosby to the long term deal that pays him $5.25 million in this final season of the deal.)

Crosby would come relatively cheap because of his salary, but do you need a high priced player, whose career batting average is .239? Ransom's career average is .251.

Chone Figgins
There have been rumors for several years now about the Angels looking to move Figgins. This could be the year though since Figgins is in the last year of his contract, and Brandon Wood has a chance to establish himself at third base. Then again it could be Woods that's moved, with Figgins signing a new deal.

Figgins would add speed to the team and also would give them a super utility player (2B, 3B, OF) if A-Rod returns to form at third base.

Chad Tracy
Another potential free agent, Tracy was relegated to a part-time role the last two seasons for Arizona after putting up solid numbers in 2004-5. He's a lifetime .804 OPS guy, who, like Teahen, would be replacing a right-handed bat with a left-handed one.

A big knock on Tracy though is the 25 errors he made in those two fine offensive seasons. That's the reason he sees significant time at first base now instead of third. Would the Yankees be willing to take a defensive hit for plus offense?

Melvin Mora
It's hard to imagine the Orioles helping out the Yankees, but Mora could bring some significant trade value to the O's. The 37-yr old is coming off the second best offensive season of his career (.285-23-104).

Mora is set to make $9 million this season and the O's have an option for next year, though the buyout is for only $1 million. A buyout the O's would likely take advantage of.

More would like to finish his career in Baltimore, but perhaps playing for a contender would sway him.

Blake DeWitt

The Dodgers second year player has been mentioned, because of being blocked at third base by Casey Blake, and at second base by Orlando Hudson.

The Yankees would have to give up a prospect of significance for DeWitt, who could still replace Hudson next season. And what do you do with DeWitt once A-Rod is healthy? Your only option would be to deal him or Robinson Cano, if Cano doesn't play to potential.

DeWitt is unlikely to land in Pinstripes.

For now, Cody Ransom is the answer, but will A-Rod or Ransom be the answer on June 1?

photos courtesy of and


  1. How about Marcos Scutaro?
    And I'm still wondering why a man with an Italian name plays for Team Venezuela.

  2. Scutaro is a nice utility guy, but he's got nothing in his bat.

    I don't know why anyone plays for anyone on the WBC. I guess on the 17th, everyone can play for Team Ireland.