With the news that Alex Rodriguez is out until May or later to remove a cyst in his hip, the Yankees have suffered a potential blow to their World Series chances.
With Rodriguez out, the Yankees will be forced to use either Cody Ransom or Angel Berroa at third, which is bad because neither player can replace A-Rod's 40 HR+ potential.
In addition, just to add Angel Berroa to the roster, they will have to DFA a player even when A-Rod is placed on the DL, because once he returns, they will need to clear a roster spot to add him. Dan Giese or Melky Cabrera are the most likely candidates to be removed from the 40-man and be designated for assignment.
Here are some of Ransom and Berroa's numbers:
Hit .255 in AAA, but struck out 115 times with 12 defensive errors. Anyone who thinks Ransom can be a good fill in for A-Rod defensively will be mistaken. Despite his strong numbers(.302, 4 HR, 12 Ks in 33 games) when called up last year, it is unlikely to carry over once pitchers figure him out when he plays regularly, and is not just a defensive replacement for Jason Giambi.
Hit .230 in 84 games and 226 ABs, with 1 HR with the Dodgers. He has regressed significantly since 2005, when he played for the Royals. However, there is a chance he could rediscover his power, but it is anybody's guess whether he does.
Also, there is a significant lack of MLB-ready depth in Scranton-Wilkes Barre, due to the following issues with these players:
Doug Bernier may be too stretched to play 3B, as he is a natural 2B, rather good on defense, and is no more than a career minor leaguer at the age of 29. He would not hit well in the show; he played for Colorado in 2008 and went hitless.
Justin Leone is a career minor leaguer at 3B at age 31. For his career, he hit .214, which won't cut it in the show. He would be no more of an upgrade over Ransom or Berroa.
Eduardo Nunez is a 22-year-old shortstop and is a very long way off from contributing. He played for the Tampa Yankees (Single-A) last year; he is not an option and is more likely to start in Tampa (A) or Trenton (AA).
Ramiro Pena hit .252 in AA Trenton last season, but did well in winter ball, hitting .283. Most likely to start in AA or AAA at shortstop, he may be an option in late 2009 or 2010.
Kevin Russo spent 2008 with Trenton (AA), hitting .307. However, he needs more time in the minors before he contributes. He is a 2B as well.
Eric Duncan is a former top prospect, does play 3B, but hits too poorly to be a candidate, as he hit .233 with 11 HR and 60 RBIs in 2008. He would get killed in the show, and he's not on the 40-man or the Non Roster Invitees list.
Also hurting him is the 11 errors he committed last season. In addition, he strikes out...a lot: 113 Ks in 2008.
Based on these observations, the Yankees lack an MLB-ready 3B who could fill in for A-Rod, and this could be costly. It would have been best if the Yankees had added a player such as Nomar Garciaparra to their bench in the offseason.
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