Via The Outside Corner:
I'm sure everyone has heard the news this morning about Alex Rodriguez's hip, notably that he'll require surgery in January that will keep him out for three to six months. Keep in mind, that this is Rodriguez's left hip, not the right hip that he's already had surgery on.
This is terrible news for the Yankees, especially with Derek Jeter in a walking boot after surgery for his broken ankle suffered in the ALCS against the Tigers. The Yankees have $46 million committed to two players on the left side of their infield with injury concerns for 2013, and they really have no in-house replacement for either (unless you're a huge fan of Eduardo Nunez).
The Yankees will likely now need to dip their toes into the free agent market, much like they did last season, when Eric Chavez was surprisingly productive for the team (.844 OPS, 16 homers in 313 plate appeaances). Some names that the Yankees will likely consider include injured former Ray Jeff Keppinger, beat-up former A's and Diamondbacks shortstop Stephen Drew, and maybe even former Mariners bust Chone Figgins.
A potentially interesting name for the Yankees to look at would be former Rockies and Cubs third baseman Ian Stewart, nontendered last week after a pair of injury-plagued seasons. Stewart is going to be 28 in April, and his career best fWAR in a season is just 1.3, set in 2010. But Stewart would be a cheap option for the Yankees after making $2.2375 million in 2012, and with the state of the third base market right now, he could actually be one of the better options out there this winter.
The endgame of Rodriguez's injury will result in him being shifted to DH on a full-time basis, which would be beneficial for his long-term health. The team is going to need a long-term solution at third base if that's going to be the endgame for A-Rod, and the most attractive name on the market is Chase Headley of the Padres, who had a breakout 2012 season at age 28. While Stewart or one of his kin might be fine as a one-year stopgap, the Yankees have a long-term problem at the third base position that they need to get solved before they keep running Rodriguez's career (and his hips) into the ground.
The Yankees are in an unenviable position right now. Rodriguez is owed $119 million over the next five seasons, and he probably won't be able to play the field on an every day basis anymore. The Yankees don't have an immediate, in-house solution for him, there isn't a marquee free agent on the market to sign, and the trade market isn't exactly looking elite. In situations like this, it doesn't matter how much money the Yankees have: they're in a tough spot right now, and Brian Cashman is going to need to get creative to keep the dynasty rolling along.