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Who's hitting 3rd?

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Inspired by jpoppejr -

with the losses of Giambi and Abreu, and following a season in which the Yankees were 7th in the AL in runs and haven't scored fewer runs since the strike-shortened 1995, who's going to pair with Arod to make a formidable 3-4 combination?

Two free agent options spring to mind:

Mark Teixeira would be nice, but at 8+ years, $160+ million? He's a great player, a switch-hitter, but he'll be 37 at the end of the contract. Plus, first base is probably a position we'll need as Posada and Arod age and can't play defense everyday. Posada's signed through 39, and Arod through 41. Then there's the question of Jesus Montero, who despite training as a catcher for the last two years with the Gulf Coast League Yankees and Charleston Riverdogs, will probably move to first-base at some point.

Manny Ramirez is an all-time hitter, but is 36 and comes with several trucks worth of baggage. Would he quit mid-season or mid-game because of some slight he perceives? We already have a glut of outfielders, so would he be the full-time DH?

Then we have a couple in-house options, but they pale in comparison to the aforementioned duo:

Robbie Cano has been mentioned as the potential #3 hitter for 2009. Despite having a poor 2008, the second half was far more like him: .307/.333/.482. But that's still not ideal for the #3 hitter of a title contending team. He would have to really pick it up.

Hideki Matsui is a consistently very good hitter (.295/.371/.478), and I could see him hitting behind Arod as the cleanup hitter, but he's recovering from a bad knee, so who knows how he'll rebound? And despite those hitting stats, that's still not ideal for our cleanup or #3 hitter.

Jorge Posada, see Matsui.

Xavier Nady is a 108 OPS+ career hitter. Nick Swisher is marginally better at 112.

And we really can't expect any of our hitters to improve save for Swisher, Cano, Melky and Gardner, who are all on the right side of 30.

Where does that leave us?

Not in a good situation unless one of those free agents are signed. Getting one of them is a must for a serious title run.