Joel Sherman is reporting that A-Rod is headed for hip surgery again. The problem is, it won’t be on his originally damaged right hip, but on his left one. Recovery time is expected to be 3-6 months and Sherman reports the Yankees are targeting June for his return.

So two bad hips and a contract that pays him $114 million through the 2017 season. Way to go Hank! Obviously, the Yankees need to find a replacement for Alex. In fact, I think this will probably be the impetus to move him to DH permanently. Considering the free agent options, my expectations are for a Cashman trade.

Will Cashman Go Shopping in Nashville?

Based on recent history, you would say no. Last year the Yankees made the following moves at the winter meetings. They won the posting for Nakajima, who they failed to sign to a contract. They selected two guys in the Rule 5 draft. Since the 40-man roster is already full, I don’t see any Rule 5 picks happening and they aren’t any postings on the horizon. (FWIW- Nakajima doesn’t need to be posted this year and hit .311/.382/.451 in Japan last year. He’s a shortstop, so it’s not the worst idea to see if he has any interest in coming to New York this year.)

But, I am not sure recent history is a good indicator because we know there is a bigger goal right now- getting under $189 million in 2014 and that changes everything. Take a look at the current roster. We know Sabathia and Teixeira aren’t going anywhere. I can’t see A-Rod waiving his no-trade to go play for the AAA Marlins, so he will be back. If Jeter has a repeat of his 2012 season he might not exercise his player option in 2014, but for now let’s say he does. Add it all up and with Jeter’s option currently worth about $9.5 million you have a payroll of $85 million or so. Add in benefit costs and you are at approximately $95 million which means you have about $94 million to pay the remaining 36 players on your roster.

And that’s why these meetings could be very different. Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain and Boone Logan will all be free agents after 2013. With the new arbitration rules it is probable that only Cano and Granderson would get the Yankees a draft pick in return if they signed elsewhere, so I could see the Yankees listening to trade offers for Hughes, Joba and Logan. Furthermore, I don’t see any way the Yankees will be able to afford Cano and Granderson after 2013, so I would expect them to listen to trade offers for both of them. But since the Yankees have Brett Gardiner and don’t have an obvious replacement for Cano, I would expect Granderson to be the more likely trade candidate. Anyway you slice it, I expect that Brian Cashman will be linked to a lot of different trades and teams over the next few days.

But remember fans, Cashman is the “Silent Assassin”. For the last few years, the press has usually been behind the curve when it comes to figuring out what he is up to in terms of trades. We may have nothing to talk about, we may have quite a lot, the only certainty is that we will have to wait to find out.