Batting Eighth: Gary Sánchez (Catcher)
El Gary did have a bounce-back year in 2021, but his second half was really bad. His stats were mostly buoyed by his first-half performance. Another problem? He doesn’t catch Gerrit Cole, so there’s a good chance he’s not playing in some of the team’s most important games. But the Yankees need to figure that out this offseason.
Non-tendering or trading Gary is an option, please do not forget. However, the market for catchers this offseason is bad. So bad. We’d go as far to say it might be a mistake for the Yankees to seek out another option, unless they can pull off something insane (a trade for someone better?), but that probably won’t happen.
The defense-first options that will be available aren’t exactly enticing, either. Expect Sánchez to stay for what will likely be his final year in the Bronx.
Batting Ninth: DJ LeMahieu (Third Base)
The Yankees have to do something with DJ LeMahieu, and if you’re one of the people that want him gone, you might waste a lot of time hoping for a scenario that probably won’t happen.
After a regression in 2021 plus season-ending sports hernia surgery, nobody is taking five more years and $75 million of DJLM. But the good news is that we can likely attribute his injury to his poor play this past season. Additionally, he’s versatile on the defensive end, which allows the Yankees to plug him at third base. Sorry guys, Gio Urshela has to be traded if this happens. That’s just the more realistic option. He has value and teams will want his cost-effective salary.
Is LeMahieu at third base the most comforting option? Not really. But he’s certainly up for the task, having played 143 career games there (the second most of any position on his ledger). If this is the one “negative” the Yankees have to deal with in 2022, so be it. We just watched about five guys play out of position in 2021 and it was the worst it’s going to get.
Using LeMahieu to lengthen the lineup by putting him in the nine-hole, assuming he returns closer to his team MVP form from 2019 and 2020, would really make this offense, top to bottom, a nightmare for opposing pitching. And if we’re being honest, he can’t start 2022 in the leadoff spot. He was mediocre at best for much of the year and can’t be eating the most important at-bats of the game until he’s able to get back on track.
We’ll admit, this is lineup a little wacky, but how can you say it’s out of the question that the Yankees spend big on a shortstop and use their prospect capital to swing trades for Marte and Olson? You’d have to assume some of that value will replenish itself if the Bombers give Anthony Rizzo the qualifying offer and trade Urshela and Voit (and perhaps a few others).
And again, it’s supposed to be a tad unrealistic because it’s a series of DREAM scenarios/outcomes. What changes would you make here?