Let’s finish up the infield review with third base. Alex Rodriguez is here for a very, very long time, until 2017 to be exact. A-Rod will likely be at third base for a large part of the time, with DH a possibility at the end. Let’s forget about that for now, it is a trade deadline review afterall. So the Yankees certainly have third base covered for the majority of this season.
Currently, Alex isn’t producing like usual, and is on pace to have a career low home run total of less than 30. His batting average is currently on pace to be his career low too. To sum it up, he is not having a good year. It could simply be a down year. However, most people believe it has to do with his hip injuries. Last year, he missed a large amount for his hip, while rehabbing in Colorado. Even with his current production, he is a fine third baseman. Hopefully, it isn’t for the long-term, but this year seems to be a bad year for A-Rod, without it getting better soon.
Alex’s defense seems to be hurt too. Just by watching the game, it can be observe that lunging for the ball to his left seems like a problem. It is likely caused by the hip. Just think, when diving to your left, you put all of the pressure, and it takes all of the force, from your right knee to push off. He can’t do that, so he simply can’t get to a lot of balls. Therefore, his defense has also been affected.
For the bench, or a possible fill-in should another A-Rod injury occur, there is the aforementioned Ramiro Pena, Kevin Russo, and Eduardo Nunez. Let’s quickly look at them.
Ramiro Pena is all glove, no bat. His glove is typically top notch, but has struggled lately. Watch for it to improve to its normal self, at least at shortstop.
Kevin Russo is more bat, less glove. His bat would be a solid bench option, but is currently struggling in his first trip to the Bronx. His glove isn’t top notch, but is fine considering he plays second, third, short, and technically the outfield. He should adjust just fine and be a solid utility player.
Eduardo Nunez has impressed in Triple-A. He is naturally a shortstop, but has lately tried third base. He should do just fine, especially because he has a strong arm. His bat has looked good since last year, but wasn’t anything special before that. Nobody will know about what Nunez will bring to the table in terms of offense, but can’t be worse than Ramiro Pena.
Brandon Laird is excluded solely on the fact that he will not likely contribute to the team this year. However, he is really wowing everyone this year with his bat.
In terms of outside talent, Ryan Theriot still seems like the best option. He will likely require a pretty good prospect and a lower-grade one, but he could be a better version of Kevin Russo. He will hit in the high .200s or possibly .300, with a fine glove that can play the entire infield except first base.
Overall, A-Rod will start the majority of the games this year, unless there is another injury. At the end of the season, if the Yankees are ahead, A-Rod might be rested a bit for the playoffs. I believe in Kevin Russo, he could be a valuable bench player. Nunez seems to be able to hit and could contribute to the team should they lose faith in Ramiro. The best trade item seems to be Ryan Theriot.
Hope you enjoyed the third basemen review. Check back next time, for an outfield special!