Rumor Roundup: A-Rod, Ross & more

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Greetings from a busy day at the Opryland winter meetings.

Let's go down the line and take a look at a day when we learned Alex Rodriguez might not be ready until right before the All-Star break, while Derek Jeter vows he will be back for Opening Day.

1. A-ROD'S REPLACEMENT: It's now pretty much assured the Yankees will add someone to handle third in A-Rod's absence. Brian Cashman said Jayson Nix is a possibility, but he wasn't very convincing. Cashman basically ruled out having Eduardo Nunez try third again.

Not that most would think this, but when asked, Cashman eliminated moving Jeter to third, though the GM did joke that is why Jeter gained weight. So what could Cashman do? Let's rank the possibilities:

A. Jeff Keppinger: Cashman has tried to get Keppinger before. The Yankees clearly like the free agent and have been in contact with his representatives. Keppinger has been a pretty good hitter in his career with a slash line of .288 AVG/.337 OBP/.396 SLG. With the Rays in 2012, Keppinger hit a career-high .325. He made $1.525 million.

I could see the Yankees maybe going to $2 million or $2.5 million on a one-year deal. Maybe even a two-year contract at $2 million per. The question for Keppinger, and any A-Rod placeholder, is whether he wants to settle on a place where his position is not guaranteed for the entire year.

Publicly, at least, Cashman is saying A-Rod will come back to play third. Well, last year, he was there for only two-thirds of the games, DHing the rest. That number can only go up, so there should be some playing time available even after he returns.

B. Eric Chavez: The Yankees liked what Chavez brought to the team. He played 113 games, his most since 2006. He hit .281 with 16 homers and 37 RBIs. He mashed righties to a .908 OPS. The Yankees don't know if Chavez will play again, but if he does, a million-dollar offer seems about right.

C. Marco Scutaro: As with Keppinger, Scutaro could be a multi-position backup. The NLCS MVP could give the Yankees support at shortstop and third base. In 156 games in 2012, Scutaro had a slash line of .306/.348/.405. Scutaro, 37, made $6 million last year, which may be too much coin for the suddenly frugal Yankees.

2. ROSS RUMBLINGS: Add Cody Ross to the rumor-mill list. Fox Sports said the Yankees have some interest. Ross, who made $3 million this year, could be in line for a two-year deal. Ross, 31, had an .807 OPS last season, which is pretty good.

So throw him in the mix with Scott Hairston and Nate Schierholtz to replace Nick Swisher.

3. HARDLY KNEW YA: The Eli Whiteside era is over before it starts. Whiteside, who has made more news -- between being claimed, signed and deactivated -- than any other Yankee, has been claimed by the Blue Jays, according to Fox Sports. No announcement yet. Whiteside was already designated for assignment by the Yankees, so they weren't really counting heavily on him, anyway.

4. GRAND DESIGN? I think the Yankees have a big, big move in them. My gut says it is trading Curtis Granderson with a corresponding big-time outfielder coming in by free agency or trade. I'm stressing that is a gut feeling, not reporting, at this point.

QUESTION: Will A-Rod play baseball for the Yankees in 2017?