If Arod has to be sidelined until June, who should the Yankees play at third? Should they stick with Ransom and Berroa, or should they sign a free agent?
I'm of the mind they should sign a free agent, and there are some decent ones still out there.
Mark Grudzielanek, Damion Easley and Ray Durham are still available. Grudz would be a decent stop-gap. He hit .299/.345/.399 last year. That's far from terrible. He's normally a second-baseman (playing just 31 career games at third), but a transition for a veteran like him shouldn't be too tough. After all, he's been an above-average infielder (combining his time at second and shortstop).
Ray Durham looks like the best offensive option, having hit .289/.380/.432 (he's also the youngest of the three). The problem though, is that Durham's never played a game at third-base. In fact, he hasn't played any position besides second in his entire pro career, so how well could he translate to the hot corner?
As far as in-house options, Cody Ransom is not that bad a hitter (.251/.348/.432 for his career). That is, however, a rather small sample (166 ML games), and he's not a good fielder.
Angel Berroa's career fell off a cliff after robbing Hideki Matsui of the Rookie of the Year Award in 2003. His career line is .260/.305/.378 and he's a slightly below average fielder.
The obvious solution seems to be Durham. He's far more proven on both offense and defense than Ransom (1975 games vs. 166), and there's still time in spring training to 'teach' him thirdbase. The Yanks should certainly hang on to Ransom, in case Durham cannot possibly switch to third, but that seems unlikely.