The New York Yankees say they are not trading third baseman Alex Rodriguez, so they likely will need to find a player who could spell both Rodriguez and shortstop Derek Jeter.
Rodriguez, 37, made 38 of his 119 starts at designated hitter last season, and that number only figures to increase as he continues to lose mobility.
Jeter, 38, is recovering from surgery on his left ankle. While he is expected to be back by Opening Day, his availability could be limited early in the season.
The Yankees are not without alternatives: Eduardo Nunez, 25, plays both short and third, while Eric Chavez, 34, again could help at third if he re-signs as a free agent.
The team, however, needed to rely upon journeyman Jayson Nix at times last season, and would be in a similar position again if players higher on the depth chart suffered injuries.
An upgrade over Nix would give the Yankees further protection against issues with Rodriguez and/or Jeter — and both the free-agent and trade markets offer possible solutions.
Among free agents, Marco Scutaro would be one intriguing possibility; he started 25 games at short for the Colorado Rockies last season and 15 at third for the San Francisco Giants before taking over second for the Giants and helping the team to the World Series title.
Jeff Keppinger would be another option, though it might be a stretch to envision him at short, where he has not played since 2010. Keppinger started 41 games at third for the Rays last season, 23 at second and 21 at first.
The trade market offers less clarity, but the Detroit Tigers could trade Jhonny Peralta if they found a better shortstop, and the Arizona Diamondbacks could move Willie Bloomquist or John McDonald if they acquired a regular at short.
However it shakes out, the Yankees figure to need plenty of help behind Rodriguez and Jeter next season. And Chavez and Nunez probably will not be enough.
— Ken Rosenthal