A short list of fill-ins at third base (if need be)

arodpbblog030509.jpgNO SURGERY FOR A-ROD…FOR NOW
Remember how well no surgery for Hideki Matsui worked out? I hope the Yankees have received better advice this time. The Yankees will still need insurance for the position — even if Rodriguez can “play,” we’ve seen what this kind of injury did to Chase Utley and Mike Lowell last season.


Throughout the evening I’ll be spelunking through the world’s roster flotsam to see if there are any third base possibilities that could provide the Yankees with better depth than they currently possess. This is emphatically a non-systematic look, no better than guesses and random suggestions. I’m sticking with lower echelon guys, because the team is unlikely to try to deal for an All-Star type (if one is even available) until it has a better idea of how much Rodriguez it’s really going to get. Thus the trick is finding someone who will fit on the bench or in the minors if/when Rodriguez becomes available and is also demonstrably more potent than Angel Berroa and Cody Ransom. Fortunately, that group includes everyone. Here’s the first pile.

Ray Durham (Free Agent): Durham, 37, can still hit, having batted .289/.380/.453 for the Giants and Brewers last year. A legitimate switch-hitter at one time, his right-handed stroke seems to have died over the last couple of years. As a career second baseman, the last time he played third base in the majors was… never.

Esteban German (about to be a Free Agent): German was designated for assignment by the Royals a few days ago. He has played a little third base each of the last five years, though he’s not particularly good at it. German was once a useful offensive player, making up for his lack of punch with a high walk rate. Then he stopped walking.

Mark Grudzielanek
(Free Agent): Grudz is a career .290 hitter but has never produced much because he doesn’t get on base or hit with any power. Over the last two seasons, he hit .301/.345/.415, though he missed about half of 2008 with injuries. He last played third base in 1995. This would be a desperation pick-up, but “desperate” describes the situation with a high degree of accuracy.

Jeff Keppinger, Danny Richar
(Reds 40-Man): The Reds have a legion of infielders in camp and might not mind moving one. Richar will turn 26 this year. He’s a left-handed hitter with a little pop who has spent all but 72 games of his career in the minors, where he has been a .288/.338/.440. PECOTA has a weighted mean projection of .253/.318/.401 for Richar, but that’s as a Red — in another ballpark, that projection would presumably drop. Keppinger is a vet who can usually hit for average, though injuries prevented him from doing so in the second half last year. Keppinger has mostly played short in the majors, but he’s stretched there. Right now he seems to be behind Alex Gonzalez and Jerry Hairston, Jr. on the depth chart.

Kevin Kouzmanoff
(Padres 40-Man): This one is likely a reach unless the Yankees want to send a real prospect or two, but the Padres are a financial mess and have a bit of depth at this position as sophomore Chase Headley could take over the hot corner if Kouzmanoff were to leave town. No defensive whiz, Kouzmanoff does have a potent righty bat that has been camouflaged by Petco Park — last year he hit .226/.268/.390 at home, but .292/.329/.473 on the road. He’s impatient and strikes out quite a bit, but the road figures represent the real hitter.

Scott McClain
(Giants NRI): The soon to be 37-year-old journeyman, once an expansion Ray, got the call from the Giants last fall and hit .273/.368/.485, which is probably the high upside of his hitting abilities. He’s been a pro since 1990 and has spent some time in Japan as well as the American minors. Including his time overseas, he has hit 405 pro home runs — we’re talking Crash Davis here. As a domestic Minor Leaguer, he’s hit .271/.357/.484, including .300/.388/.553 at Triple-A last season. He’s never been a great fielder, and an optimistic Major League projection would be .240/.320/.420, but that would far surpass the Berroa/Ransom combo.

Dallas McPherson
(Marlins 40-man): The former Angels prospect, now 28. A left-handed power hitter, he led the minors in home runs last year, batting .275/.379/.618 with 42 home runs at Triple-A Albuquerque. He also struck out 168 times in 448 at-bats. He’s no fielder and would struggle to reach base 30 percent of the time, but he’d hit a few balls over the fences.

More to come…


  1. letsgoyankees

    Julia-First I’d like to say I enjoy your courtesy to Yankee fans on your blog. Here’s what I got from Cashman’s statement:
    It sounded to me as if A-Rod felt no pain, just stiffness. With the cyst drained they’re hoping that that was the cause of the stiffness; hopefully, just like last yr., A-Rod will feel no pain from the tear. My thought is that if A-Rod still feels stiff, there’s a problem, but if he feels better than we’ll (PROBABLY) be good. I like the idea of getting Adrian Beltre from Seattle if worst comes to worst. The team’s a train wreck, and he won’t be part of the rebuilding, so maybe the Yanks could work a deal.

  2. hateslibs

    Well here we go, it looks my hunch for signing Orlando Hudson should have been heeded. We could have moved Jeter/Cano to 3rd, Hudson to 2nd/ss, but now we sit ion a probable pile of S–t!!!!!. Wonder what all you A-Rod haters will say if A-Rod’s gone for the season. How do you fill 30–40 Hr’s, 100= RBI’s with fill ins????? Besides who will all you A-Rod haters pick on if A-Rod sits????? DUH,DUH,DUH….. As for the list Steve compilied PSSSSTTTT–BARF-BARF!!! Com’on Steve you can do better!!!!!

  3. rob_sawyer@charter.net

    Forget Orlando Hudson. The Yanks weren’t going to sign Hudson unless they moved Cano, and they were not going to move Cano.

  4. rsiciliano@stny.rr.com

    Let me add this:


    to the Angels for


    Figgins plays 3B until Alex comes back and then moves to CF.

  5. hateslibs

    rsiciliano, You should also throw in Tex and CC and AJ for Figgie. Figgins is ok but he’s on a down hill slide. You have to be a REDSUX fan by the way you write!! Four of the five you want to trade for Friggie will have good years with the Yanks. You can guess who #5 is…..

  6. charlief

    What about Ronnie Belliard? The Nats plan on using him as a super sub, not a starter, so he probably wouldn’t cost much. He’s played 77 games at third in his career. Last year he hit .287/.372/.473 which likely won’t be repeated but the year before he hit .290/.332/.427 which would be adequate as a fill-in.

  7. rsiciliano@stny.rr.com


    Thanks for the “kind” & mature words but I’m a Yankees die-hard. The problem is that the Yankees weren’t able to make a deal before this info went public. Now, every team in baseball has the Yankees by the groin. They’ll have to overpay no matter what. Meanwhile, the Yankees have NO plans for Melky, Kennedy, and seemingly Swisher as well, but they could all be useful to another team. Figgins is a starter on Anaheim so what do you think it would take for the Yankees to him? Let me guess, Figgins for Cody Ranson straight up? Go back to your xbox.


    Actually that is a great idea… Belliard is a very solid player and I think he’d cost a whole lot less than Figgins.

  8. charlief

    With the new Nats administration, I don’t think they’ve overvalue their vets the way Bowden did. I follow them pretty closely now that I live down in DC. The Nats fan in me believes that it would be smart to trade anyone over the age of about 28. Even middle of the road prospects would be better to help them build.

    The Yankees fan in me think that Belliard would be a good stopgap, and might even remind Cano that he has to hit. And it wouldn’t cost anyone of real consequence. Seems like a good fit.

  9. christopher.kulish@caremark.com

    Some players that come to mind who could be had: Chad Tracy, D’BacksMark Teahan, RoyalsRyan Freel, OriolesTeahan would be ideal IMHO only because he can play pretty much anywhere and, once A-Rod comes back, he (Teahan) can replace whatever **** the Yankees have as the UT player at that time.

  10. jiosso@verizon.net

    Trade Kennedy and Cabrera for Chone Figgins. You should not have to throw in Swisher into that deal and you definitely should not trade Gardner under any circumstance. Trade Swisher even up for Figgins, since Angels are interested in him for 1B.

    If that doesn’t work, get creative and trade Kei Igawa and his $8 remaining contract for 1) Adrian Beltre and his $13 million salary, 2) Bill Hall (CC Sabathia’s best friend) and his $24 million for 3 years plus some salary relief, 3) Luis Castillo and his $8 million salary even up if he can play 3B or 4) any other legitimite 3B with less than $8 million on his contract.

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