Though it should come as no real surprise, Yankees' GM Brian Cashman has officially announced that Chase Headley will be the team's starting third baseman next season. That means that Alex Rodriguez will be moved into the role of full-time designated hitter.
He won't even be first in line for the backup spot at third; Martin Prado will be considered the backup and Rodriguez will have to compete with him to earn a chance at third base, in which case it would be Joe Girardi's decision. Prado seems to be the starting second baseman at this point, so if they want him to be available to backup third, then maybe they actually will give Jose Pirela or Rob Refsnyder a chance to be backup second baseman.
Cashman also indicated that he has not discussed the move from 3B to DH with A-Rod, and even went so far as to say that he doesn't need to. "I've been very consistent with my conversations publicly from October on. I have not heard from Alex on any of that and I know he reads all this stuff." Ouch. Of course, it shouldn't be too shocking to A-Rod that the Yankees don't want an almost 40-year-old who has had double hip surgeries and hasn't played in over a year to be their everyday third baseman. With that being said, it seems like Cashman could have spoken to him privately to at least attempt to ease some of the tension surrounding his return.
It will be interesting to see how Girardi juggles the DH spot if and when Carlos Beltran is unable to play right field. Now that he's had his elbow surgery, it hopefully won't be a concern moving forward, but Beltran spent a ton of time in the DH spot last season when he was unable to do any throwing. If A-Rod ends up hitting like Alfonso Soriano did last season, it would be incredibly unlikely that they cut him since he is signed through 2017. Though Cashman has previously mentioned that A-Rod could backup at first base, it seems strange that they would want him to play first if they don't trust his athleticism at third. They just might end up paying him millions of dollars to ride the bench.
A-Rod might surprise us all and pick up where he left off, but it is refreshing to hear that the Yankees are not expecting that to be the case and have planned accordingly. What do you think the Yankees will do if A-Rod shows that he has nothing left in the tank? How realistic do you think it is that he shows up in great shape and bats .270 in the DH spot?