When the offseason began, the question on everybody’s lips was, “Which of the Big 5 shortstops will the New York Yankees pursue in free agency?”
Now, all of us have been left wondering whether Andrelton Simmons counts as a “Big 6” or not.
The Yankees have shown precious little interest in exploring the top of the market in the days and weeks since NYC insider columns began to drop, indicating they preferred a stopgap over a star, despite a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to add both postseason pedigree and premium skill.
At this point, though, it seems Brian Cashman and Co. are instead focused on the flaws of all the available names.
Instead of Carlos Correa’s postseason mastery, the long-term financial commitment (and Astros history) have scared off the bidding. Instead of the potential to overwhelm Trevor Story on a one-or-two-year deal, they seem content to let him or Corey Seager head to Texas and pair with Marcus Semien, another “transition” option who actually locked it down for seven years (congrats to him).
And about Seager … what, exactly, do the Yankees hate about him? The defense has always been sub-spectacular, and the idea of signing a shortstop to a $300 million contract just to move him to a different position seems a little bizarre, but if any team can shrug off a financial commitment like that, it’s supposed to be this franchise.
Surprisingly, his pull stats might actually be the icing on the cake. As Mike Petriello pointed out this weekend, Seager isn’t a sure thing to take advantage of Yankee Stadium’s lefty gift, the short porch. When he hits the ball in the air, he almost never pulls it down the line, which is — at the very least — interesting.
Could the Yankees be scared of Corey Seager because of his pull stats?
Perhaps this is why the Yankees don’t even really seem to be considering the man who was previously thought to be their top target.
It’s that, right? The defense and the surprising pull stats? Certainly it isn’t a franchise commitment to cheaping out that’s led to the Yanks falling behind both the Dodgers and Rangers. No, no. Certainly not.
As the Dec. 1 free agency freeze approaches, it seems like Seager will be the final domino to drop before the deadline.
Odds are low he’ll be pursued heavily by the Yankees. When the disappointment inevitably crests, just remember this statistic and try to sleep at night.
But, like even the warmest blankets, it won’t bring much comfort when it’s 12 degrees and sleeting (or the Yankees are 42-42 midway through July again with another, more embarrassing hole at short).