If the New York Yankees cannot trade third baseman Alex Rodriguez, they likely will need to find a player who could spell both Rodriguez and shortstop Derek Jeter.
Rodriguez, 37, made 38 of his 119 starts at designated hitter last season, and that number only figures to increase as he continues to lose mobility.
Jeter, 38, is recovering from surgery on his left ankle. While he is expected to be back by Opening Day, his availability could be limited early in the season.
The Yankees are not without alternatives: Eduardo Nunez, 25, plays both short and third, while Eric Chavez, 34, again could help at third if he re-signs as a free agent.
The team, however, needed to rely upon journeyman Jayson Nix at times last season, and would be in a similar position again if players higher on the depth chart suffered injuries.
An upgrade over Nix would give the Yankees further protection against issues with Rodriguez and/or Jeter — and both the free-agent and trade markets offer possible solutions.
Among free agents