CBS Sports' Jon Heyman posted Sunday that third baseman Jeong Choi of Korea is aiming to play in the United States next season. Obviously, the Yankees still have a third baseman with multiple years left on his contract in Alex Rodriguez, but no one can be sure of how the nearly 40-year-old's body will respond to missing nearly the equivalent of two seasons by the time he is able to return from his 162-game suspension for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal.
Choi has been called the David Wright of Korea, according to Heyman's article. He's 27-years-old with all five tools and has averaged more than 20 home runs over the last four seasons in Korea. Choi has also demonstrated his speed on the bases by averaging more than 20 steals across that span. Heyman also touts the third baseman's arm strength and was second in his league in on-base percentage last season, which was his best.
If the Yankees did want to move away from Rodriguez at third – whether to make him a permanent DH or eat the large amount of money remaining on his contract to release him – there are a number of free agent options already playing in the United States they may want to pursue. Chase Headley, Hanley Ramirez, and Pablo Sandoval lead that list. With the team already knowing they have to replace their shortstop after the retirement of Derek Jeter and their second baseman after Brian Roberts' contract is over, it may be that third base just isn't their top priority.
The infield in New York is simply not a strength by any means, and the outlook for it does not seem to be improving in the short-term. Next winter's first priority will almost certainly be filling the middle infield, especially shortstop, where the farm system is practically bone-dry. It's unlikely that the Steinbrenners will want to part with the funds necessary to have Rodriguez play elsewhere upon his return, but it seems almost impossible to imagine him suiting up for the team again after all the bad blood and dirty laundry that was aired over the course of last season. Should the team decide that the financial hit is worth not dealing with the headache that Rodriguez's presence comes with, then Choi could certainly be an option for a team that is almost desperate in its need for infield assistance.