Sports Outside the Beltway

If Arod departs…

What to do? With Scott Boras asking for an astronomical extension for Arod, perhaps he will opt-out to be a free agent. What will the Yanks do in that case? There are basically two options with a dream third option that’s unlikely to ever happen.

1. sign Mike Lowell
He’ll be a free agent this off-season, is coming off his best year yet and is a better defender than Arod. The caution flags arise when we realize that Lowell had his best year in his contract year (danger! danger!) and had huge home/road splits. His Fenway OPS was .226 higher than his road OPS. His career OPS at the Stadium is a sub-par .786 and he’ll turn 34 next year. I say stay far away.

2. play Wilson Betemit everyday at 3b
A far more efficient use of resources, considering Betemit’s salary isn’t even $400 K and he’s just 26 years old. His career OPS+ is just 98, but perhaps with regular playing time (something he’s rarely received) he could post numbers that more accurately reflect his immense talent. I could potentially see .270/.350/.450. His defense is about average for a third-baseman but his arm rivals Cano’s for the best in the infield.

3. trade for Miguel Cabrera
How much would it take to get the hefty 3b/OF slugging phenom from Florida? A lot. The 24 year old Cabrera (career 144 OPS+) would cost a lot of prospects, but Florida is open to the idea of dealing him, as they can probably only afford one of Dontrelle Willis and Cabrera. Apparently they want young, ML ready starting pitching, and since I’m totally unwilling to give up Hughes or Joba, what about Melky, Kennedy, Horne, Tabata/AJax and Betances for Miggy? It could turn out to be way too much or not nearly enough. A lot of it depends on Cabrera’s ability to get and stay in shape and how close Betances comes to reaching his mammoth potential. And the nice part is that Cabrera is actually a versatile (though poor) defender – he could play a below average 3b and OF, or be taught to play 1b and probably be just fine.

4. just sign Arod
The most risk-free option. I believe Arod wants to stay a Yankee and the Yanks obviously want him. If he bolts for the 4th team of his career, he’ll always (if not already) be seen simply as a mercenary/gun-for-hire type with no sense of loyalty or tradition and will go into the Hall of Fame never having a ‘true’ team or fanbase.

PS: Joba will enter Spring Training as a starter. Nice!

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