If it wasn’t clear ahead of this week’s presser, Brian Cashman certainly laid things plain at Tuesday’s re-introduction of Aaron Boone: the New York Yankees need a starting shortstop for 2022 and beyond.
Gleyber Torres is better suited for second base, which Cashman finally decreed this week after the vast majority of the 2021 season was spent pretending he could handle shortstop not just through October, but for the next half-decade.
It seems likely Torres stays and saved his future in pinstripes with a late-summer offensive burst. He won’t be placed up the middle, though, which complicates the futures of DJ LeMahieu, Luke Voit, Anthony Rizzo and Gio Urshela.
It also leaves a pluggable hole up the middle, meaning Yankee fans’ daydreams of massive free agent additions are no longer ridiculous. No matter who they end up with, they won’t be running it back trying to shoehorn Urshela into the wrong position.
Call us skeptical until we actually see results, but all rumblings this offseason seem to indicate we’re in for one of those winters where Hal Steinbrenner listens and reacts to Brian Cashman’s demands by opening his checkbook.
We already ducked under the fake-as-hell luxury tax. What else are we waiting for?!
With all complicating factors in mind, this is how the list of shortstop additions seems to shake out, ranked from “most likely” to “least likely” to take the Steinbrenner Money Bag.
Yankees shortstop options power rankings
- Corey Seager
- Trevor Story
- Carlos Correa
- Javier Baez
- Andrelton Simmons
- Marcus Semien
- INSANE WILD CARD
- Jose Iglesias
- Freddy Galvis
Never underestimate the possibility of the “INSANE WILD CARD,” but we feel like the seven hole is an accurate place to put him (or her?).
Now, some might rank Correa higher, and it doesn’t really seem like his Astros days will be a complete and total dealbreaker. If that were the case, the Yankees never would’ve gone for Johnny Damon, right? Roger Clemens? Wade Boggs? …Gerrit Cole? Happens all the time.
He’s ranked third, though, because his addition would make the clearest statement: “We believe in this player enough to start his multi-million-dollar contract with a ‘three.’ We believe in him at shortstop for a very, very long time. We are not wavering on this.” The Yankees, otherwise known as the recent kings of wavering, are probably more likely to commit a bit less cash to someone who might be a third baseman by 2024.
We don’t make the rules. We just follow them.
In terms of Story vs. Seager, the pedigree rests with the left-handed Dodgers slugger. The defense rests with the ex-Rockie, who the Yankees might’ve ended up with instead of Joey Gallo at this year’s deadline if Colorado’s asking price hadn’t been wildly off base. He won’t net you anything but a comp pick now, anonymous Rockies GM! Oops!
So, why Seager over Story? The Scott Boras factor certainly contributes; if the Yankees are going to work on a long-term and extremely expensive deal with anyone, they’d probably prefer their negotiating partner be as familiar as possible. Factor in the postseason pedigree and left-handed pop, and we give Seager and his regressive defense the head nod. It … really does feel like this team loves Anthony Volpe, folks.
Beyond that clear tier of a top three, we ranked Javier Baez fourth, even though he certainly brings an erratic attitude to the plate. Don’t love the swings and misses, do love the non-robotic fire.
No matter how much you love him, though, you have to admit he’ll more likely be a New York Met. So … fourth.
As unfortunate as an Andrelton Simmons addition would be, we channeled the team’s Volpe love into this selection — a one-year, good-field, no-hit deal is more likely than a contract for Marcus Semien that tries to shoehorn him back into the shortstop hole after he’d already escaped to second base.
If the Yankees don’t secure one of the top four options, though, they’ve failed in their mission. Plain and simple. Unless the “INSANE WILD CARD” is … somebody nobody expects to be available. Jake Cronenworth? Adalberto Mondesi? Tommy Edman?
Yeah, you’re right. Still a failure without the top names.