Cashman: A-Rod may miss all of 2013; Mets rotation: handle with care

Alex Rodriguez on Sept. 29, 2007. (Image via Wikipedia Commons)

It seemed that since we had learned of Alex Rodriguez‘s bum hip his prognosis had always been for a mid-season return, perhaps around the All-Star break in mid-July.

That might have been a bit optimistic.

Today on an interview on WFAN radio, Cashman said there is a “chance” Rodriguez could miss the entire 2013 season.

As much as Yankees fans might be skeptical of the Kevin Youkilis signing, that looks like a much better acquisition in light of this most recent news. Still, Youkilis has had a hard time staying healthy as well. He hasn’t played in more than 147 games in any one season of his career and he last played in at least 130 games in 2009. Even if Youkilis stays healthy, he’ll probably need a day off here and there.

The Yankees have made it sound like they don’t see Eduardo Nunez as an option at third base. He’ll almost certainly be spending some time spelling Derek Jeter at shortstop this year.

The Yankees will put Rodriguez on the 60-day disabled list at some point, which will free up a spot on the 40-man roster for another third base option.

Rodriguez hasn’t been his old home run-hitting powerful self in years. In a 2013 season in which the Yankees look to replace the home runs hit by Nick Swisher, Russell Martin, Raul Ibanez and Eric Chavez, the potential loss of A-Rod for the entire year means the Yankees will be even more dependent on small ball.

It will be an interesting year strategy-wise for Yankees manager Joe Girardi. Can Ichiro and Brett Gardner lead a singles and steals charge in the Bronx? Will Derek Jeter be able to contribute at the top of the lineup or has his age finally caught up to him? Will that capture the fans’ interest? Will it score enough runs to keep the Yankees competitive?

At this point there are many more questions than there are answers for the 2013 Yankees.

On the other side of town, the Mets made the Shaun Marcum signing official, rounding out the team’s rotation.

Johan Santana

Jon Neise

Shaun Marcum

Matt Harvey

Dillon Gee

At first glance, that’s not a bad group at all. Santana and Niese are two of the better lefties in the National League, somewhere behind Clayton Kershaw and Gio Gonzalez.

Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Shaun Marcum wipes his forehead before throwing a pitch during the second inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Harvey is an up-and-coming potential ace and showed flashes during his 2012  debut.

Gee has had some success in his stint in orange and blue and looks like a more than capable fifth starter.

The one problem here? How many innings are each of these guys going to last?

Santana is coming off a season in which he threw the club’s first no-hitter, but was limited to 21 starts with back inflammation.

Marcum, an effective soft-tossing righty, had elbow problems that limited him to 21 starts last year as well.

Niese has been fairly durable each of the past three seasons, but he’s still never thrown more than 190 1/3 innings in a season. Other than the complete tear of his hamstring in 2009, he’s been the most healthy Mets pitcher.

Harvey could be the Mets’ next ace, but he still just a 23-year old pitcher. He threw 59 1/3 innings in the majors last year after throwing 110 innings in the minors. He’s probably going to get limited to 180 innings max, whether the Mets make that public or not.

Gee made 17 starts last year before going down with a blood clot in his throwing shoulder. He was cleared to resume throwing in 2012 and if everything goes right, should be ready by opening day. Still, he’s just 26 and has 49 starts at the major league level, so he might have some sort of innings cap as well.

Zack Wheeler might be ready for the big leagues at some point during the season, but the 22-year old has 322 2/3 innings under his belt in a three-year minor league career to this point. He certainly won’t be pushed beyond 160 innings or so as the Mets look to keep him healthy for the long haul.

So for a bit of rudimentary math, say Mets starters average five and one half innings per start over 162 games. That’s 891 innings for which to account. If those five guys can throw 180 innings apiece, that’s 900 innings, putting them at just over 5.5 innings per start. Even that is probably asking too much of a disaster of a bullpen.

If the Mets are hoping to compete in the talent-packed NL East this season, they’re going to need this fragile bunch to toughen up pretty quick.

Any baseball thoughts on your mind? Let me know what you think on Twitter: @THR_Montgomery.

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    Will Montgomery

    Will Montgomery covers boys' soccer, girls' basketball, boys' and girls' swimming and diving, boys' lacrosse and baseball (including the Hudson Valley Renegades) for Varsity845.com and the Times Herald-Record. Prior to joining the TH-R in November ... Read Full
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