The New York Yankees, for about the fifth offseason in a row, have a bizarre “good” problem. Right now, they don’t have a true shortstop. However, they have the money to spend big on one of the stars in this year’s free agent class. That’s great, isn’t it?
But wait. Do they want to create a logjam with two of their most promising top prospects in Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza? Is the front office really going to pass on enticing options such as Corey Seager, Carlos Correa and Trevor Story because they’re keen on young players who have yet to log a full season at Double- or Triple-A?
Well, if you trust MLB insider Andy Martino as a source, then be prepared to be worrying until the offseason officially begins in about three weeks.
According to Martino, he wouldn’t be surprised if the Yankees went after a short-term option at shortstop because they’re high on Volpe and Peraza.
What options are there? Martino names two: Andrelton Simmons, whom the Yankees apparently tried to acquire at the trade deadline, and Marcus Semien.
The problem here? Simmons provides absolutely nothing offensively while Semien hasn’t played shortstop on a full-time basis since 2020 (which was only 53 games) and his defense at the position comes with many question marks.
Are the Yankees going to prioritize a short-term shortstop over one of the big-ticket free agents?
Another decision that’s … a year too late. Should’ve signed Charlie Morton two years ago. Should’ve signed Michael Brantley two years ago. Had the chance to do both again this past offseason and didn’t.
Simmons and Semien would’ve been perfect for the 2021 Yankees. Why? Because Simmons could’ve been a bench player and eventually called upon when it was realized Gleyber Torres was no longer a fit at shortstop. As for Semien, he could’ve started the year at second base and shifted over to short once Torres was moved off. Because DJ LeMahieu was eventually the first baseman when Luke Voit went down … and then moved over to third when Gio Urshela dealt with various injuries.
What a season it ended up being. Everyone just played out of position for most of the time and then Andrew Velazquez was forced to start the AL Wild Card Game.
Now, considering Simmons as an option is actually fine as long as the offense as a whole wakes up. But it’s been bad in 2020 and 2021 now. Why do we think that’ll change in 2022?
On the other hand, Semien is a great addition from an offensive standpoint, but he’s arguably a better second baseman than a shortstop, and if the Yankees plan on keeping Torres, this would just be another ugly logjam that wouldn’t make sense. Over the past three seasons, Semien has -14 Outs Above Average (OAA) at shortstop compared to +7 at second base as well as 2 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) compared to 11 at second.
To get this right, the Yankees need the full package — a shortstop who is a standout on both sides of the ball. It’s a lot to ask for, yes, but you’ll never see this many options available at once in the same offseason perhaps ever again. And we can’t say fans won’t be infuriated if the Bombers consider these two options given the circumstances PLUS the fact that both of them probably should’ve been considered last offseason.