2. Kevin Newman
Fresh off hitting literally .606 in one of the wildest spring trainings you’ll ever see, Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Kevin Newman is down to .185 through the season’s first seven games.
Buy low, Yankees!!
90% kidding, but it can’t hurt that Newman’s faded back to the shadows on potentially the league’s worst team and could clearly help the Yanks as a potential Tyler Wade replacement. If Mike Tauchman’s going to be the first pinch runner off the bench because the Bombers are so worried about losing their only shortstop, then truly what’s the use of Wade at this juncture?
In 2019, Newman appeared to be en route to future stardom, hitting .308 with 12 homers and an above-average 109 OPS+ in his age-25 season and first as a full-time starter. A fellow Arizona Wildcat, Newman felt like a fully-realized version of Rob Refsnyder, the Yankees’ former utility dream.
Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the shortened 2020 season led to a complete roller coaster for Newman. He flat-lined last year, OPS+-ing a putrid 52, about half as good as your average shortstop. This spring, his line-drive swing to all fields appeared to have returned! You can’t trust those statistics, but you can trust the confidence.
Alas, one week into the season, it’s gone again.
Newman’s pedigree is higher than fellow Pirate utility man Adam Frazier’s, and he’s a natural shortstop, unlike the Buccos’ other trade option. All we’d need to see is a middle ground between dreadful and dangerous to give Newman a chance.