After the events of the last 24 hours, I propose a new reality show, "Sucking the Oxygen Out of the Room." First up, Manny Ramirez, who finally signs with the Dodgers for the same two years and $45 million he was offered in November. Somehow it took several months to iron out the final details of the terms and payout.
Your next contestant: Terrell Owens. Controversial superstar gets released by the Cowboys. Do the Giants want him? The Jets? Does anyone?
And finally, your returning champion, Alex Rodriguez. With his back-page streak in jeopardy, A-Rod knew he'd have to come up with something more than just an on-field appearance with his daughters and ex-wife. And many of you say that A-Rod can't come through in the clutch.
Squawker Lisa won't be able to post until this evening, but when I told her that the report that A-Rod will need hip surgery came from his brother, Lisa remarked that A-Rod used to be a lone wolf but now his life has turned into the Brady Bunch - a new relative in the news every day.
As of now, the Yankees have not confirmed that A-Rod will need surgery, but if it's true that he could miss a quarter of the season or more, the Yankees will have to make a move. Lisa has written how the ongoing A-Rod circus has taken the spotlight off of the Yankees' pricey free agents, but suddenly Mark Teixeira, usually a slow starter, will be beginning his career in pinstripes without A-Rod hitting behind him.
Even if Teixeira gets off to a good start, all that means now is that he'll be replacing A-Rod's production in the early going. And players coming off injuries like Hideki Matsui and Jorge Posada will have to regain their earlier form if the Yankees are going to make up for the loss of Bobby Abreu and Jason Giambi.
So sticking Cody Ransom at third won't cut it, even if Johnny Damon thinks Ransom is the best athlete on the team. The Yankees are going to have to make a move.
Replacing A-Rod at third for the Dominican team in the WBC is Seattle's Adrian Beltre, who is entering the last year of his five year, $64 million contract. Though nowhere near the hitter he was in his last contract year, 2004, when he hit 48 homers, Beltre has hit at least 25 homers the last three years, with much better numbers on the road. Beltre turns 30 in April.
The Yankees are in win-now mode, while Seattle is rebuilding and unlikely to re-sign Beltre, who has been a bust relative to his contract and is represented by Scott Boras.
If the Yankees are confident that A-Rod will be back in a few weeks at full strength, it probably doesn't make sense to trade for Beltre, especially considering that Matsui will probably be the main DH, Posada may also need to DH and Damon may need some DH time as well. And then there's the question of what to do with both Xavier Nady and Nick Swisher.
But how likely is it that all of these players will be healthy and productive?
Five years ago, when Aaron Boone went down, Brian Cashman made a bold trade to replace him at third with a Boras client. Beltre is no A-Rod, but he's also no Cody Ransom. Whether with Beltre or someone else, it's time for Brian Cashman to get creative again in the trading market.
And speaking of Boras, imagine what would be going on now if the A-Rod injury news had broken just a couple of days earlier, when Manny was still a free agent.