Saturday, April 25, 2009

Third Base

When A-Rod went down we knew the Yankees were going suffer a huge loss. A-Rod's the best or second best third baseman in baseball (David Wright?). Still, nobody expected a line of .180/.226/.320 from Cody Ransom. We also hoped to see at least average fielding. But we didn't get that and after Ransom went down yesterday, their weren't many Yankees fans sweating the loss. A-Rod is making a faster recovery than expected and could be back by early May if he suffers no setbacks. However, they still need to shore up that hole for a few more weeks. Among the candidates are Angel Berroa, Ramiro Pena, and Eric Duncan.

First we have the favorite, Ramiro Pena. Pena was a long shot to make the ML roster going into Spring Training. However, he impressed during Spring Training and made the team. Pena's strength is really his glove. He's a fantastic shortstop and the idea of him and Cano up the middle is tantalizing. However, he's definitely not a ML level hitter. He's never even played in AAA and last year had a line of .266/.330/.357. He's not going to hit any better than Ransom. Pena will probably get the job and his defense is a weapon but if he's Derek Jeter's succesor I'd be shocked.

Next up is Angel Berroa. Unlike the other two, Berroa has quite a bit of ML experience. His ROTY award in 2003 gave him more second chances than Sidney Ponson. He never followed up on that yera's success and since then has been barely replacement level. He also has next to no experience at third base. He played the position for one third of an inning in 2007 and I assume he tried it out in Spring Training but their's nothing to indicate he'd be a very good third baseman. As a SS he's been slightly below average so I hold little hope for him. The only reason he's getting a look is his hot start in AAA. He's batting .316/.365/.491 so far for Scranton. I have very little hope for him.

And finally we reach the Yankees own fallen star, Eric Duncan. Ideally for the Yankees, and Duncan, he would have continued on his path to stardom and given the Yankees a much cheaper, less annoying replacement for Alex Rodriguez when he opted out of his contract. However, things didn't work out like that did they? Instead, he had a few poor, injury plagued years and fell off the map completely. He's now blocked at third base by Mark Teixeira as well. Although he's dabbled in the outfield, his chances of being a Yankees starter are pretty much zero. The Yankees have nothing to lose by giving him a shot and if they can catch lightning in a bottle with him, then he could regain some of his former luster as a trade chip. He's cooled since last we checked in on him but he's still batting .326/.400/.419. I say give him a shot and hope for the best. Simply DFA Ransom to make room for him on the 40 man roster. Duncan, like Pena, has the potential to give the Yankees something. However, theirs none of the risk.