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March 6, 2009

Replacing A-Rod

Putting People in Pinstripes

by Baseball Prospectus

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If the Yankees decide to go hunting for something better than the non-answers they have in their own system in their quest to find someone to fill A-Rod's cleats, however temporarily, there are a couple of ways they could go if they so chose, shopping for journeymen or second-tier prospects blocked in their current organizations, or perhaps gunning for something a little more exotic as international action gets underway in the WBC tournament.

Jeff Baisley, Athletics: Known more for his pitching exploits in college, Baisely was the Midwest League MVP two years ago, but he's slowed down some at the upper levels. Still, he's an above-average defender with a little bit of pop and some on-base skills, and the Nomar Garciaparra signing likely means another year at Triple-A for him.-Kevin Goldstein

Matt Brown, Angels: An eight-year veteran of the Angels system, Brown has racked up 111 home runs in his minor league career, including 21 last year as part of a .320/.373/.580 line at Triple-A Salt Lake. He's not a good defender, is ready as he'll ever be at 26 years old, and is absolutely buried on the Angels' depth chart, so he could be a cheap pick up.-KG

Kory Casto, Nationals: Seemingly a prospect in the Nats' system for eons, Casto was moved to the outfield in 2007 simply because he was never going to supplant All-Star Ryan Zimmerman. Now he's 27 years old and stuck behind a younger, more talented group of outfielders. Ignore his poor big-league performance from last year-he has enough offensive ability to be a solid, unspectacular temporary replacement.-KG

The Cubans: If anyone was going to defect from the WBC to don pinstripes, it's worth noting that Cuba actually has a position battle going on at third base, one that's rather like choosing between A-Rod and David Wright. The established third baseman for the Cuban national team is Michel Enriquez. He's 30 years old, and translates to a .299 Equivalent Average (.299/.383/.490) over the past four years; he had a batting average of .447 (translated .344) in Cuba two years ago. He also has over twice as many walks as strikeouts over the last four years; even translated, that's still better than 1:1. He missed part of the last two seasons due to a one-year suspension for attacking an umpire.

Yulieski Gourriel is 25 years old, bigger than Enriquez, and more of a power hitter. His performance in Cuba translates as .269/.333/.506 and a .284 EqA from 2005-2009, with 35 home runs per 650 PA. He was one of the most hoped-for defectors three years ago, when he was 22 and playing second base. He continued to play second for the national teams until Enriquez' suspension, though he played third for his regular team. If there was a worldwide draft for every player not already affiliated with MLB, he'd be a top-five pick, and very possibly the first pick overall.-Clay Davenport

Esteban German, Royals: Designated for assignment last weekend when Kansas City signed Juan Cruz, he's readily available. The high-on-base percentage utilityman (career .358 OBP) has long been a minor hero in the sabermetrics pantheon; more properly a second baseman than a hot corner regular, he's also handy enough in the outfield and on the bases. Projected to get on base at a .330 clip in his age-31 season, if the Yankees made a move and deposited him at the bottom of the order to give the top a baserunner to drive in, he'd be an asset in A-Rod's absence, and then a quality reserve once the star comes back.-Christina Kahrl

Jack Hannahan, Athletics: As a quality defender and a lefty bat to put into the Yankees' new home, Hannahan would have his uses. He's been stretched when pressed into full-time play filling in for the oft-injured Eric Chavez in Oakland, but signing Orlando Cabrera and Nomar Garciaparra crowds the infield. As a temp filler who might not cost more than a nondescript A-ball arm to acquire at the end of the month, the Yankees could do worse, and that's assuming Brian Cashman doesn't decide to wait and see if he winds up on waivers, a la German.-CK

Dallas McPherson, Marlins: The former Angels prospect has struggled with problems with a knee, the strike zone, and playing third, but if you want a poor man's Russell Branyan for lefty power, McPherson might fill the bill as a short-term temp after leading the minor leagues with 42 home runs while slugging .642 against right-handers for the Albuquerque Isotopes last season. Adjust to his age and park and boil it down, however, and it only translates to a .249 Equivalent Average. We project him to hit a homer every 22 plate appearances in the majors, but strike out once every 2.8.-CK

Shuichi Murata: Japan's starting third baseman in the WBC, Murata plays third for Yokohama. His overall translated stat line is an unimpressive .252/.319/.453 and a .264 EqA, but that hides a trajectory of .228-.251-.270-.301 in his Equivalent Averages in the last four years. Now 28 years old, he's only 5'9", but he led the Japanese leagues with 46 home runs this past year, and was third in RBI (time off for the Olympics might have cost him the lead). He also led the Central League in home runs in 2007 as well. The bad news (beyond his unavailability) is that his defense is poor.-CD

Related Content:  A-rod

38 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

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You can have Andy Marte for Nothing to Be Named Later.


Mar 06, 2009 09:16 AM
rating: 3

I'm sure that Texas can work something out for Travis Metcalf.

Mar 06, 2009 09:23 AM
rating: 0

Why not move Jeter to third? Not like he's got any range at SS.

Mar 06, 2009 09:25 AM
rating: 0

Then who plays short, Berroa?

Mar 06, 2009 09:44 AM
rating: 0

Mark Teixeira was a 3B in college and early days with the Rangers. Could the Yankees move him back to 3B and put Nick Swisher at 1B with Nady back to a full-timer in the OF?

Mar 06, 2009 09:36 AM
rating: 2

Nady vs. Right-handers = Not good.

Mar 06, 2009 09:49 AM
rating: 0

When BP is considering Kory Casto et al as a 3B replacement, I think Nady hitting both sides of a platoon is the lesser of evils.

Mar 06, 2009 09:54 AM
rating: 1

Plus, the whole "he can't hit righties" thing hasn't actually be true for years. If you look at his splits, there is reason to believe he's made a heckuva lot of progress in that department - even if you dismiss last year.

The real problem with this proposal is the idea of Mark Teixiera playing 3B in 2009.

Mar 06, 2009 10:37 AM
rating: 0

Couldn't disagree more. Nady has a K/BB ratio of 4 to 1 (83 BB to 331 Ks) in his career vs. righties and a career OB% of .317 vs. righties...as I said, "not good".

Mar 06, 2009 12:45 PM
rating: 0

I think I like that a heck of a lot better than anything else being suggested.

Mar 06, 2009 10:32 AM
rating: 0

But wouldn't that be too much of an injury risk to Teixeira, as the $180 million man would have to re-adjust to 3rd base and, according to Will, these position adjustments raise the injury risk factor significantly? After losing their best offensive player, I'd think the Yankees wouldn't want to risk Teixeira.

Mar 06, 2009 18:34 PM
rating: 1
Richard Bergstrom

Don't forget Corey Koskie, who is in the Cubs camp on a minor league contract. I could also see them picking up Bubba Crosby as they try to rekindle the same magic they had from picking up Brosius from the A's.

Mar 06, 2009 10:07 AM
rating: 0

Do you mean Bobby Crosby?

Mar 06, 2009 11:33 AM
rating: 0
Richard Bergstrom

I need more caffeine in the morning.

Mar 06, 2009 15:28 PM
rating: 1

How about moving Cano to third and signing Ray Durham to play 2b? Once A-Rod returns, Durham would be a useful bench bat.

Mar 06, 2009 10:26 AM
rating: 1

I'd be interested if Cano hadn't had such an awful year last year. I want him concentrating on playing 2B.

Mar 06, 2009 10:36 AM
rating: 0

Fernando Tatis.

Mar 06, 2009 10:33 AM
rating: 0

Hell yeah....Tatis to the Yanks for Kennedy.

Mar 07, 2009 12:58 PM
rating: 1

German's problem is that he can't field at any position.

Mar 06, 2009 10:42 AM
rating: 0

Scott McLain

Mar 06, 2009 11:31 AM
rating: 0

oops McClain

Mar 06, 2009 11:33 AM
rating: 0

I'd think Aaron Boone could be had if the Astros decide they like Chris Johnson enough to give him a shot with the big club.

Mar 06, 2009 11:56 AM
rating: -1
Dave Holgado

Have to say that Gourriel is the most exciting idea. And that's high praise from Clay, considering the non-MLB-affiliated rest of the world also includes Yu Darvish.

Mar 06, 2009 11:58 AM
rating: 1

Gourriel may be a stud, but counting on a player to defect from Cuba is not something the Yankees are considering, I'm sure.

Mar 06, 2009 12:17 PM
rating: 1
BP staff member William Burke
BP staff

If only Nomar had held out a few more days, a union of the Trinity of 90s shortstops could have come together in New York.

Mar 06, 2009 12:21 PM

The ex-Cub and current Brewer Casey McGehee is doing pretty well in spring training, and is stuck between Bill Hall/Mike Lamb and upcoming lead-gloved Mat Gamel.

The Dodgers' Blake DeWitt might be interesting - playing at 3B initially, and then competing with Cano at 2B once A-Rod comes back.

Mar 06, 2009 12:45 PM
rating: 0
Richard Bergstrom

Bill Hall might be an interesting pick up. The Yankees, even with the offseason spending, are beneath last year's payroll so they have room. They'd previously been in discussion with the Brewers about Cameron so they have an idea of the Brewers wish-list, and Hall could move into a job sharing arrangement in center field once A-Rod returns from the DL.

Mar 06, 2009 15:30 PM
rating: 1
BP staff member Jay Jaffe
BP staff

Hall was brutal in center field, but you're right in that he's been in the discussions with the Yankees. Unfortunately for both sides, he's got an injury (calf muscle tear, I think) which will sideline him past opening day, at least the last I heard.

Mar 06, 2009 18:25 PM
J Scott

The entire piece would have been a LOT more interesting if all these "alternatives" were compared to the on-site candidate...Cody Ransom. It's not at all clear to me that any of these suggestions (Cubans aside) is obviously better than Ransom.

Mar 06, 2009 13:05 PM
rating: 0
BP staff member Jay Jaffe
BP staff

Seriusly, what's to compare? Ransom's forecast for .216/.293/.386, in other words, brutally bad relative to A-Rod, and well below what a Blake or a Durham or Grudzielanek or Hall would give them. Those guys are major league hitters who, if they don't have jobs at the moment, would probably have jobs somewhere if it weren't for this economy. Ransom is free talent, interchangeable with a whole host of guys who are at least a tier or two below the established players mentioned.

Mar 06, 2009 18:37 PM

I like the Blake DeWitt idea and the Brewer solutions, both, but I wonder if the Yankees and Dodgers might agree more easily on after Casey Blake instead... more of a one season solution, and makes it even easier to deal Swisher.

Mar 06, 2009 13:17 PM
rating: 0

Freddy Sandoval?

Mar 06, 2009 22:17 PM
rating: 0

I'm pretty sure the Orioles would part with Melvin Mora and/or Aubrey Huff.

Mar 07, 2009 07:41 AM
rating: 0


David Freese or Joe Mather

Both are ready now, and the Cards could stand to deal one from the quartet of Wallace/Mather/Freese/Craig, especially since the position is blocked for the next couple years by Glaus (assuming he returns to form this May/June).

Mar 07, 2009 20:06 PM
rating: 0

what about mark teahen? he's a little expensive but he's a decent 3rd baseman and he still has breakout potential with the stick.

Mar 07, 2009 22:58 PM
rating: 0

DeWitt would a great solution, but what would the Yankees have to give up to get him?

Mar 08, 2009 07:56 AM
rating: 0

They might as well bring back Graig Nettles

Mar 08, 2009 18:23 PM
rating: 0

Pedro Feliz is a World Series hero, and he can fill in at SS in a pinch! The Yanks can have him in exchange for an instructional video on infield defense for Greg Dobbs to watch.

Mar 09, 2009 00:04 AM
rating: 1
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