JUPITER, Fla. -- The Yankees’ infield situation is really an Abbott & Costello routine right now. No one knows who is on first. Or third. Or, for that matter, if the shortstop will be ready by Opening Day. But, with Mark Teixeira expected to miss at least the first month of the regular season, let’s rate the possibilities.
To me, this is the most likely possibility because Joe Girardi is comfortable with Nix at third. Youkilis has won a Gold Glove at first so Girardi knows he can handle that spot.
Nix had a .690 OPS in 2012, while Juan Rivera, for comparison, had a .661 OPS.
2. Juan Rivera/Dan Johnson at first; Youkilis at third
Rivera’s OPS jumped up to .745 against lefties in ’12 so perhaps he could be the starter against southpaws. Johnson, who is most famous for his 2011 Game 162, game-tying homer off Cory Wade, is a journeyman, but he has a .750 OPS in 313 career games against righties.
Then the Yankees could keep Youkilis at third.
3. Youkilis at first; Eduardo Nunez at third
I think this is unlikely. Girardi has already said he has no plans to put Nunez at third at this point. He said it could change, but I doubt it. Nunez is so shaky at his natural position of shortstop, I can't imagine they will look at him as the solution at third.
Plus, they still can’t be entirely sure how Derek Jeter is going to hold up so Nunez will need to focus on short.
4. Carlos Lee at first; Youkilis at third
Lee, a 36-year-old free agent, reportedly turned down a chance to join the Yankees in a trade in 2012. He is a pretty big name, but there is one problem with his game at this point in his career -- he's not that good anymore. He has only played 66 and 81 games the past two years.
5. Youkilis at first; Scott Rolen at third
Like Lee, the 37-year-old Rolen is a FA who hasn’t played that many games the past two years and I think it's doubtful the Yankees would look his way unless they got a bargain deal. Rolen made $6.5M in 2012. He couldn’t expect anything close, but I’m not sure the Yankees have an extra million bucks in their budget. Even if they did, I doubt they would do it.