Yankees Rumors: Who Fills In for Didi Gregorius at Shortstop?
According to Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, Didi Gregorius will be sidelined for the next six weeks.
A hematoma of the subscapularis muscle. That’s what emerging Yankees star Didi Gregorius has been diagnosed with, after leaving Team Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic. And obviously, his presence was missed, as the Netherlands fell to Puerto Rico on Monday night in the semifinals of the WBC — 4-3 in 11 innings.
Gregorius will be shut down from all baseball-related activities for two weeks, before being reevaluated and then potentially beginning a throwing program after that. With opening day out of the question, and most, if not all of April looking more and more unlikely, the Yankees will need to decide rather quickly who fills in for their 27-year-old budding superstar at shortstop.
George A. King of the New York Times reported on Monday that Starlin Castro is open to the idea of shifting over to his original position, should the Yankees ask him to.
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"“I can do that for sure. That’s my natural position and I think I can do that,’’ Castro said Monday after getting at-bats in a Single-A game against the Blue Jays at the Yankees’ minor league complex. “If they ask me, I am going to say yes. Hopefully [Gregorius] is all right.’’"
By all accounts, Castro has played the most amount of games at short above all other internal options that the Yanks currently possess (844 games). But in 2015, his final year at the position with the Cubs, he made 18 errors.
Other fill-ins include Pete Kozma (206 games at shortstop) and Ruben Tejada (438 games at shortstop). Donovan Solano has only seen 19 big league contests at short, so for me, his deployment isn’t even a remote possibility. The same goes for Ronald Torreyes and his 15 games at the position.
For those hoping the Yankees would throw caution to the wind and install super prospect Gleyber Torres and his .464/.484/.964 spring slash line, don’t hold your breath. Team officials were quick to throw water on that fire.
I suppose the Yankees forget a similar situation is how Derek Jeter once upon a time got his start back in 1996. Incumbent starting shortstop Tony Fernandez hurt his knee that spring, and well, the rest is history.
Earlier this week, the team was floating the idea of using Tyler Wade in a Ben Zobrist-like utility role. Wade, who is a natural shortstop by trade, is said to have some of the best hands and lateral movement in all of the minor leagues. On top of that, he’s raking this spring, hitting .394/.430/.484 in 35 at-bats.
Personally, I’m all for giving the kids a shot, but if the Yankees ultimately decide Wade isn’t ready for a starting job — at least until Gregorius were to return from a stint on the DL — I’d move Castro to short, and play the hell out of Rob Refsnyder.
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It would be the final opportunity I’d give Refsnyder, the former prospect, to prove he belongs on a Major League roster. If all went well, he’d drastically improve his trade stock. If not, a 40-man roster spot would finally open up.