Now reports of a torn hip labrum have officially sucked the air out of the Yankees lungs. The question is where do they go from here?
As the Steinbrenners and Brian Cashman awake from their freshest A-Rod nightmare, it is time to manufacture a contingency plan.
Initial reports indicate that Rodriguez will attempt to forego surgery in favor of rest and rehabilitation. In the event that surgery becomes the only option, he faces at least four months away from baseball.
The problem is that we have heard this all before.
Suffering a labrum injury that may require surgery? Electing to postpone the procedure to attempt a strengthening and stabilization program?
New York held its collective breath just last season as Jorge Posada battled through the same difficult decisions A-Rod now faces.
He inevitably required surgery, and the procrastination has left him unsure of his status for opening day.
If Rodriguez wants to redeem himself in October this season, his only option is immediate surgery.
The Yankees may not get there without him, but a healthy A-Rod after the all-star break is their only chance. Six months of wincing and compensating will not get it done.
Cody Random and Angel Berroa are not the answer. There are, however, three excellent options to help bail water while everyone awaits A-Rod’s return.
1. Bill Hall
Hall has been somewhat maligned in Milwaukee in recent years due to his terrible walk to strikeout ratio and on-base percentage.
However, he is a legitimate power threat and drives the ball gap to gap very well. His defensive ability is more than adequate, and he has CF experience for when A-Rod returns.
2. Hank Blalock
Blalock is another player causing headaches at his current location. His injury history has prevented him from building on the vast potential he showed through 2006.
Michael Young has shifted over to 3B, which has banished Blalock to a DH role. He hits for power and has shown ability with his glove.
Texas has a bevy of hitting prospects that could break into the majors at any time. Blalock’s departure will open a lineup spot for the next budding star.
The Yankees have pitching prospects and the Rangers need all the pitching they can get their hands on.
3. Adrian Beltre
Beltre is coming off of three straight 25+ home run seasons. Unlike Hall and Blalock, he puts the ball in play a lot more consistently.
He has impressive ability to drive the ball to the gaps, and is not a liability on the base paths. He has produced double-digit steals in five different seasons. This will provide power without the “Jason Giambi factor” of moving station to station.
The Mariners are out of the AL West race before the season begins, and should be looking to reduce payroll. Beltre has over 1500 games played at 3B and is very durable.
It is anyone’s guess what Cashman’s next move will be. All he can hope for is that A-Rod’s next move is to go under the knife.
The Yankees need him now, but they need him healed for the stretch run even more.