Originally written on The Outside Corner  |  Last updated 1/13/14
I'm not going to bother recapping the Alex Rodriguez suspension saga for all of you - everyone knows the gist of things. A-Rod's suspension has been reduced to 162 games, and barring some sort of miracle, he's not going to play at all in 2014. But while his season is done before it really got started, are the Yankees really in a better place in 2014 without Rodriguez in the fold? Consider this - even with Rodriguez not suspended, there would be more questions than answers in relation to New York's infield. Robinson Cano, who was far and away the best player in the Yankees infield over the last four seasons, is now a Seattle Mariner. Derek Jeter played in just 17 games last year. Mark Teixeira played in only 15, and neither player could hit when they were in the lineup. Couple the questions surrounding them to the Yankees' disastrous attempts to replace Rodriguez's bat in the lineup over the first half of 2013, and you have all the makings of situation that could get ugly rather quickly. New York is also being forced to break in a new cast of characters this offseason following the departure of Cano and Rodriguez's suspension. Of the nine players to play at least 150 innings in the infield for the Yankees last year, the only ones that will return (assuming Rodriguez's suspension holds up) are Eduardo Nunez and Brendan Ryan - though Lyle Overbay and Mark Reynolds currently haven't signed with new teams and could conceivably be brought back. The cast of characters that included Kevin Youkilis, Jayson Nix, David Adams, and (of course) Cano and Rodriguez will be replaced by Kelly Johnson, Brian Roberts, and the hopefully healthy duo of Jeter and Teixeira. But New York is one injury away from having to give playing time to Nunez, Ryan, or a host of largely unproven options, like Dean Anna, Scott Sizemore, Russ Canzler, or Yamaico Navarro - your 2014 New York Yankees, everyone. The dirty little secret about A-Rod in 2013 is that he was actually a pretty competent player in the 44 games he played - especially compared to his teammates. Even surrounded by the PED circus, Rodriguez hit .244/.348/.423 with seven home runs in 181 plate appearances. Those seven homers were more than every Yankee infielder in 2013 aside from Overbay (in 300 more plate appearances) and Cano. Only Cano managed to top Rodriguez in wOBA and wRC+. And it's not as if the Yankees are replacing those two with a pair of perennial All-Stars in Roberts and Johnson - Roberts hasn't logged 300 plate appearances in a season since 2009 and hasn't had a wRC+ over 100 (which is set as the league average) since 2010, while Johnson joins his fifth team in six seasons after breaking the wRC+ threshold twice in the last five years. Last month, I wrote about how Johnson is primed for a big year at Yankee Stadium - and I stand by that opinion today. But he's not a sure thing, and neither are Roberts, Jeter, or Teixeira - and this is the glue that's expected to hold New York's infield together. Rodriguez has struggled over the last three seasons - but he's never been as bad as the Yankees infield minus Cano was last year. Losing Cano is obviously the bigger deal, but losing both Cano and Rodriguez could be a death blow for New York's 2014 - even with the upgrades the club has made in their lineup with Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, and Brian McCann. There are serious questions about the Yankees in 2014, and losing Rodriguez hasn't made anything easier for them. [follow]
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Malcolm Butler daring Brady to throw his way in practice

Geno Smith confident worst is behind him and the Jets

Ronda Rousey knocks out Bethe Correia in 34 seconds

Von Miller earns dismissal from NFL’s drug program

Ian Kennedy watches birth of daughter on FaceTime before start

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Matt Williams wants Bryce Harper to stop getting ejected

Five most underrated players in the NFL

Larry Lucchino stepping down as Red Sox CEO

Las Vegas Mob Museum to open FIFA corruption exhibit

Does NFL have a motive to settle with Tom Brady?

Big Ten coaches opposed to 9-game conference schedule

Lolo Jones: I could last at least a minute against Rousey

Bears have very strict rules for media during training camp

Jamaal Charles: I feel like I'm the LeBron James of football

Ronda Rousey: I'll fight Cyborg if she stops taking steroids

Danny Garcia beats Paulie Malignaggi, remains undefeated

Bobby Wagner, Seahawks agree to contract extension

Blount won't talk about reported failed conditioning test

Greg Hardy helps pay Cowboys fans to fly anti-Eagles banner

Report: 7-foot Aussie center to join Kentucky's 2015 class

Jack Del Rio: Crabtree ‘stood out’ at first Raiders camp practice

Browns owner: ‘We haven’t given up on Johnny Manziel’

Junior Seau’s daughter will speak at Hall of Fame induction

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Ronda Rousey calls out Cyborg

Five most underrated players in the NFL

Five potential NFL salary cap casualties this preseason

Winners and losers of the 2015 MLB trade deadline

Pirates do Pirates at deadline: Neat little moves

Mets acquire Cespedes from Tigers

Ranking the NFL’s 32 head coaches

Five worst baseball trades since 2000

Examining the state of the NFL

Puig: Broke out of slump by playing baseball video games

Braves dump risk, exchange it for risk

David Price traded to Blue Jays

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker