Like most Yankee fans, I do not want to think about the possibility that Robinson Cano might not be a Yankee in 2014. However, the fact that he has quashed all Yankee offers to date, has asked for $305 million to re-sign with the team and is now only four days away from being able to talk to the other 29 teams, makes the possibility something that has to be considered. While no one seems to believe the $305 million dollar figure is remotely realistic, the fact remains that there are now so many more teams flush with money than there used to be and plenty of those teams either need or would want someone like Cano. Because of the same, it is expected that there would be a number of significant offers made to Cano and the concern that some team will offer something to Cano that is beyond a reasonable stratosphere. Should that happen, the Yankees may have no choice but to let Cano leave. As such, the Yankees have to have a contingency plan at second base. That being said, what are their best options.
Unfortunately, if the Yankees have any hope of offensive production from the second base position, they will have to look outside of the system. Guys like Eduardo Nunez, Jayson Nix, Jose Pirela, David Adams, are all below average replacement players on a team that was already sunk by those type of players last year. Considering the same, what options could be available to them. The answer to that question is obvious uncertain because, in recent years, while there are always some kind of option(s) in free agency, the talent is more diluted than in the past, whereby the best talent available is more often by trade but then again, who knows who can be had and for what. Nonetheless, below is list of interesting potential options (though with varying levels of possible availability) and actually are solid options instead of more below average players.
American League Options
Ben Zobrist, Rays - Likely to have his 2014 option exercised if not already done, he is solid all around player with excellent defense up the middle. TB is always looking to pedal vets who are near free agency in exchange for prospects.
Jason Kipnis or Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians - The Indians have a lot of highly rated middle infielders on the farm which means someone will likely be traded at some point. I like Kipnis' ability a lot. He is a 5 tool second baseman. For the right price, who knows. However, the more likely candidate is Cabrera who will be a free agent in the near future and is likely to be replaced by Francisco Lindor in the near future. While a shortstop, he might be served well defensively to play 2b. His offensive decline is a bit of a concern but I believe that he is truly a mid teens home run type and is a solid if not great offensive player and he is only 27.
Brian Dozier or Eddie Rosario, Twins - The Twins have some great prospect and a number of highly rated middle infielders between the majors and minors. The former is a 2b who had a solid first full season in the majors though with a low average. However, he will probably grow into a better hitter and he has a bit of pop, and draws walks. The latter spent the second half of the year in AA and does everything well enough to be a solid all around possibility while he is probably only about a half a season away from the majors.
Dustin Ackley or Chris Taylor, Mariners - The Mariners have their future 2b, 3b and ss already on the team, as well as depth in the minors. Ackley, just 25, had some bumps along the road in Seattle but he seems to project as a solid all around offensive second basemen with solid defense. He has nowhere to go in Seatlle so a trade seems possible. Chris Taylor is a shortstop who is projected to play 2b and is likely about a half season away but with no place to play on his current team. He has a little bit pop, a lot of speed, hits for average, takes walks and is supposed to be a decent fielder.
Howie Kendrick, Angels - While not particular phenomenal at any one thing, he is consistently a borderline all star, batting about .290 with some pop and steals and solid if not great defense. The Angels have other options at 2b and need pitching so you never know.
Jurickson Profar or Ian Kinsler, Rangers - The Rangers have a glut of infielders whereby the 2b, 3b and ss are all under long term contracts. As such, the Rangers will either have to move Profar to the OF which seems wasteful or find someone who will take a contract off their hands. I am not asserting that Profar is the one who could be had as I believe Kinsler is the more likely one to go. However, either guy would work. Profar's upside is high while Kinsler is a well rounded player on offense and defense though coming off a less than stellar offensive season though solid.
National League Options
Brandon Phillips, Reds - He and the Reds seem to be butting heads. He is a solid all around second basemen who is continually a borderline all star. He is costly but a lot cheaper than Cano. However, because of his salary, the chips to get him might not be as bad as some other comparable players might be.
Jedd Gyorko or Logan Forsythe, Padres - As a rookie, Gyorko showed all the elements of a future offensive powerhouse. However, he plays a position that the Padres have depth in and the Padres have multiple needs. Forsythe did not look as strong and is not as strong a prospect but he has solid all around skills, including the ability to take walks. It is possible that one of these guys could be had since San Diego needs a lot to compete.
There is no replacing Cano. However, some options are better than others. Realistically, no matter what option the Yankees choose, it will be a downgrade for them, and likely a significant one. The only thing the Yankees could do would be to upgrade at other positions.
Who would you try to acquire to replace Cano if the Yankees cannot re-sign him?