There's been quite a bit of speculation this offseason that Alex Rodriguez might see some time at first base in 2015, and on Friday, that' just where A-Rod found himself. During some fielding practice for pitchers, Rodriguez got a shot to man first base, and while the drill reportedly wasn't very demanding for him, it did give him a chance to at least get a little practice at a position he has never played before in the majors.
Though the drill didn't seem too strenuous, manager Joe Girardi did think that it gave A-Rod some valuable experience. "As we go through these drills, I think it's important that he go over there and tries to get a better understanding of what the position entails, the spots he's supposed to be at," Girardi said, according to Chad Jennings of the LoHud Yankees blog (check out this link to see some video of A-Rod at first at LoHud). All in all, while this doesn't mean we'll see Rodriguez at first much this year, it seems clear that the Yankees will at least entertain the idea, and would certainly like to have some extra contingency plans in case Mark Teixeira finds himself missing some time again this season.
Still, it figures that A-Rod is probably the third option for time at first base, as the Yankees (doing what they failed to do last offseason) acquired a backup first baseman this year in Garrett Jones. Jones, who came over from Miami in the same deal that brought Nathan Eovaldi to New York, has spent his career at first and right field, and figures to give them a decent power bat off the bench. Sporting a .253/.314/.450 triple slash with a 107 wRC+ over his career, Jones should be perfectly adequate to fill in occasionally for Teixeira, as well as Carlos Beltran in right.
Even though it's unlikely that Rodriguez will play much first, base, if he's able to do so decently once in a while, it will give Joe Girardi a lot more flexibility to DH different players. With a lot of aging DH-types on the team (A-Rod, Beltran, Teixeira) that all have significant injury concerns, A-Rod's ability to step up and play first will give Girardi a lot more options to rotate all his older players through the DH spot, and will give the Yankees an option at first if Beltran and Teixeira both go down at the same time. If Girardi can cycle Teixeira, Beltran, and A-Rod all through the DH spot every so often, perhaps he can keep everyone healthier in 2015 than they were in 2014. Obviously A-Rod's not going to bring a whole lot of value to the team with his glove work at first (that will still come from his bat), it's certainly not bad that he's trying to learn some new tricks. And while any stints he has at first will not make or break this season, any additional versatility he can add to his game at this point in his career will help the Yankees. If sparing Tex for a few games here and there can do its part to keep the Yankees healthy, then I'm all for A-Rod playing some first.
What do you think about Alex Rodriguez's potential at first? Do you think we'll actually see him there any this season?