Yankees: 3 moves NYY can make while waiting for DJ LeMahieu

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CLEVELAND, OHIO – SEPTEMBER 30: Cesar Hernandez #7 of the Cleveland Indians rounds third on his way to score on a double by Jose Ramirez #11 during the first inning of Game Two of the American League Wild Card Series against the New York Yankees at Progressive Field on September 30, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

2. Cesar Hernandez

The Yankees would be getting an upgrade on Thairo Estrada/Tyler Wade here.

At Cesar Hernandez’s apparent price, what’s not to like?

Earlier editions of our 2020-21 offseason plan shied away from including Hernandez, simply because we thought the Sabermetric darling would’ve priced himself out of “fourth infielder” range with his excellent 2020 in Cleveland.

According to MLBTR again, though, he’s very much in range, theoretically commanding only $6 million on a one-year deal.

Any Yankees fan knows after watching the 2020 team play — as if it weren’t already painfully obvious in previous years — that the so-called backup infielder on the roster will end up a near-starter. How many games did you watch this year that didn’t involve Thairo Estrada, Tyler Wade, Jordy Mercer, or all three?

Hernandez followed up seven (seven!) successful, yet unheralded years in Philadelphia with a campaign in Cleveland last year worth 1.8 WAR in the shortened season, and leaves The Land with a Gold Glove for his mantle. This is a .290 hitter who would easily attain 450 plate appearances in a given season with the current Yankees infield construction, and wouldn’t demand a more prominent role among the Torreses and the Urshelas and, we hope, the LeMahieus.

This is simply a doable upgrade the Yanks should be racing to make, with our without having secured the signature of their missing piece.