Monday, December 3, 2012

Winter Meetings News & Notes: Day 1

The Winter Meetings officially got under way today, in not in a good way if you're a Yankee fan (or GM).  You all know what the big story of the day was, but here's the smaller stuff you might have missed.

- Obviously the biggest news of the day was the revelation that Alex Rodriguez has another labrum tear in his hip, this time the left one, and will have surgery in January to fix the tear.  A-Rod is expected to be out 4-6 months.

- Despite no confirmation that he would be willing or able to play third base, multiple reporters had the Yankees connected to free agent shortstop Stephen Drew.  If he is willing to play third, there would be a lot of early-season PT for Drew.

- Sweeny Murti had word that the Yankees were "quietly" shopping for third basemen at last month's GM meetings, so clearly the A-Rod injury wasn't something the Yankees started focusing on recently.

- There was never much connection between the sides, but the Yankees lost out on Mike Napoli today as a catching option.  Napoli signed a 3-year/$39 million deal to play first base fah Bahhston.

- They lost another potential catching option when the Blue Jays claimed Eli Whiteside off waivers from the Yankees.

- Joel Sherman reported that the Yankees are in on FA outfielder Scott Hairston, but not likely to get involved in the type of dollars he'll get.  Not surprisingly, I'm OK with that.

- Jon Morosi added Cody Ross' name to the list of right field options the Yankees are interested in.  If they aren't willing to pay Hairston, I can't imagine they would shell out more for Ross.

Free-Floating A-Rod Injury Commentary

(No doubt discussing how to answer the health questions.  Courtesy of Charles Wenzelberg/NY Post)

Bits and pieces of the story are still coming out as we speak, but suffice it to say that the news of Alex Rodriguez's latest injury setback is both incredibly disappointing and shockingly unsurprising.  A-Rod's growing injury problems have gone hand-in-hand with his production decline over the past 4 seasons, and with as bad as he looked at the plate late in the regular season and in the playoffs it comes as no surprise that there was and is something physically wrong with him.

A-Rod has always been a lightning rod for controversy since the day he first signed with the Yankees, and that theme shows no signs of slowing down even as his on-field performance has.  This latest instance is sure to stir up all kinds of talk about how long he had been playing with the injury, why the Yankees didn't come out and say he was hurt, what it means for him and the team moving forward, and gives everybody another opportunity to bash Yankee ownership and Randy Levine for signing A-Rod to that ridiculous contract (maybe the only positive to come out this).  With the full story still coming together, I'm going to go with my old standby of "Thoughts & Afterthoughts" bullet points to try to capture as many of my own reactions and thoughts to it as I can.

BREAKING NEWS: A-Rod To Have 2nd Hip Surgery

I said after the season ended that I was only going to write about Alex Rodriguez as needed, and this story certainly qualifies.

After George King of The Post reported earlier today that there were some concerns within the organization about the health of A-Rod's surgically repaired right hip and that another surgery was a possibility, the situation has now escalated to the point that Rodriguez WILL have surgery and in all likelihood will miss the opening of the 2013 season.

Joel Sherman first confirmed that the surgery was a go and that Rodriguez played part of this past season with a re-tear in that hip.  Mark Feinsand followed up with a report that the surgery will take place in January, and that the team doctor wants A-Rod to take some time to strengthen the hip prior to surgery.

There were tons of questions floating around about A-Rod's health when he looked so weak late in the season and in the playoffs, and while Rodriguez himself wouldn't confirm anything at the time, this news comes as pretty definitive proof that he was playing injured.  We were already coming to an understanding that these last 2 seasons marked the end of A-Rod's days as an elite player.  Now with this latest setback with his hip, we may have to prepare ourselves for an even further deterioration of his skills and possible transition to part-time playing status.

More on this story as it becomes available...

** UPDATE 9:36AM- Sherman confirmed that Rodriguez was playing with the hip tear in this year's postseason.  That explains the lack of life in his swing. **

** UPDATE 9:48AM- Sherman now confirming that the tear is actually in A-Rod's left hip and not the right one that he previously tore and had surgery.  Not sure if that makes the situation better or worse. **

** UPDATE 10:17AM- Feinsand, citing multiple team sources, reporting that A-Rod is expected to be out until June or July of 2013 after surgery. **

** UPDATE 11:16AM- Ken Rosenthal reporting that A-Rod spent a night in the hospital after one of the Yankees' ALDS games because the pain in his left hip was so severe.  This just keeps getting better. **

** UPDATE 1:46PM- Yankees have made it official with a press release on the injury.  The surgery for his left hip will be "similar but not identical" to the procedure done on his right hip in '09, and as earlier reported the recovery time is expected to be 4-6 months. **

Looking At The Yankee Trade Chips

(Will this guy still be a Yankee after this week?  Courtesy of Getty Images)

The Winter Meetings start this week, and while I still believe the Yankees are entering them in a position of weakness and don't have a lot of faith that they are going to pull off a deal, this is their best chance to make a splash and start filling the holes left in their lineup.  To come away from these meetings without an answer in right field or behind the plate would make for a very stressful remainder of the offseason and most likely lead to those positions being filled by subpar players.  And with the Yankees' refusal to get really involved in the free agent market, their best bet at getting an impact player in those positions of need will be through a trade.  Cash has made some good ones before, and some bad ones, and always seems to use the meetings to line something up.  If that's the route he's going to take this year, he's got plenty of potential trade chips at his disposal.