Some big news coming out this morning about the severity of Alex Rodriguez‘s hip injury – according to MLB.com, Rodriguez is going to have surgery that will keep him out of the line-up until at least May. Regardless of how you may feel about Rodriguez, this is clearly a blow to the Yankees.
CHONE has Rodriguez projected for a .417 wOBA, and if he misses the entire month of April, that’s approximately 100 plate appearances that they’ll have to replace with… no one really knows. Cody Ransom is listed as the backup third baseman on the Yankees depth chart, but but the odds of Ransom starting on opening day for the Yankees have to be pretty slim. He’s just not a major league quality player, and especially not good enough to start for a team with playoff aspirations.
So, I think we have to assume the Yankees are going to make a move to bring in a temporary replacement at third base. Mark Grudzielanek is the only free agent with any real experience at third base, and that’s even being generous – he played 236 innings at the position in 1995. But, as a quality defensive second baseman, he could be expected to handle the hot corner fairly well.
However, CHONE has Grudz projected for a .299 wOBA, predicting a fairly massive fall for the 38-year-old. Even over just 100 plate appearances, the difference between Rodriguez’s projected offense and Grudzielanek’s projected offense is 10 runs. Ten runs in a month. And that’s assuming that Grudzielanek would want to play third base for a month before moving into a bench job.
In reality, even if Rodriguez isn’t affected by his hip injury at all past April, and plays a full season from May-September, this injury is going to cost the Yankees around one win off their projected total unless they can trade for a quality third baseman. In the AL East, losing a win is a pretty big deal.
This is bad news for the Yankees. Cashman is going to have to pull a rabbit out of his hat in the next few weeks.
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