Learn your lesson from Blind Brandon Drury and move on.
Investing money alone in a stopgap shortstop is embarrassing for many reasons, not the least of which is that none of those stopgap shortstops are any good. Freddy Galvis, Andrelton Simmons and Jose Iglesias are well-below-average players who are only diminishing in effectiveness as they age — Simmons especially, whose fielding is no longer elite enough to justify keeping his disappearing bat in the lineup.
The only thing worse than signing one of these stopgaps? Trading for an aging defensive specialist, surrendering both prospects and escalating dollar costs in the process. That’s why swapping kids for D-Backs shortstop Nick Ahmed, especially at this moment, is the worst mistake Brian Cashman could make.
Why do we have reason to be wary of this trade going down? Well, the need for a shortstop is obvious, and this wouldn’t be the team’s first pursuit of Ahmed.
Back in early 2017, he was a hot ticket, linked to both the Yanks and Rays. When Didi Gregorius went down at the tail end of the 2018 season, Joel Sherman started stoking the Ahmed flames again.
Our answer might’ve been different in 2018, and certainly would’ve been in ’17, but paying assets and cash for Ahmed now would be a lateral move and a blunder.
No, the Yankees should not trade for Diamondbacks SS Nick Ahmed.
Positives? Ahmed makes contact and fields the position. He’s never struck out more than 113 times in a full season. He was a Gold Glove winner with 19-homer pop back in 2019 at the age of 29.
The negatives? Numerous. Even in that 2019 season, he didn’t crack the league average with his bat, checking in with a 93 OPS+. In fact, he’s never crossed the 100 threshold. Not once. In 2021, he clattered all the way down to 67, and will be entering his age-32 season this year, which is the point when defensive skills typically begin to regress even further.
What’s more, Ahmed is controllable through 2023, but makes ~$8 million annually on an extension he signed back in 2020. He’s a controllable asset, but not in the way that teams typically prioritize. He’s not cheap. It’s basically a slight overpay from his theoretical rising arbitration costs.
All things considered, Ahmed would be a more appealing stopgap than Simmons by a hair. He’d probably be less enticing than Galvis, who brings more panache and power to the proceedings. But when you factor in the prospect cost (Ken Waldichuk and an additional top-25 prospect? Two top-25 guys, undoubtedly.), this makes less than no sense. The Yankees are in the red if they even consider rekindling those 2017 rumors.