In wake of officially learning MLB Network is a version of state-run media, we can’t help but believe the New York Yankees are employing mouthpieces across the league after hearing the latest bit of free agency buzz.
Is the organization looking to spew its highly opposed rumored agenda of bringing in a very bad stopgap shortstop option in 2022? Or do different MLB scouts simply have … different opinions? One can be true. Both can also be true.
But since we’ve heard the rumor all too often that the Yankees prefer a low-cost option for one or two years as they wait for the arrival of Anthony Volpe, we have to err on the side of caution and expect the worst-case scenario.
So who will it be? Carlos Correa, Trevor Story or Andrelton Simmons? Oh wait, we forgot about trading for a third baseman and playing him at shortstop. Sorry about that.
One MLB scout believes the Yankees should go with Simmons and part of the explanation is sympathizing with Hal Steinbrenner’s desire not to be in danger of exceeding the luxury tax for years to come.
Reminder: Extending Aaron Judge should have no impact on free agent acquisitions after the evident and glaring voids that have been made obvious the last two seasons.
Here’s what that MLB scout told NJ.com’s Randy Miller about what he’d do if he were the Yankees’ GM:
"“As tempting as it would be to pay what it takes to get Correa or bring in Story, what I would do if I was the Yankees GM is get Simmons and save the money. At some point the Yankees are going to have money issues. They’re not going to walk to let Aaron Judge walk. I’m a big fan of Simmons. He’s one of the best defensive shortstops ever to play this game, and after a down year hitting he might get rejuvenated playing in a place where he has a chance to win. Simmons probably would be the ideal guy for the Yankees if they want a vet to play short for a couple years until one of their kids are ready. Also, I think Simmons would help Gleyber Torres a lot. Gleyber could sit next to him in the dugout and analyze things from a guy with a very good resume who speaks Spanish. This may be the way the Yankees go.”"
The “ideal guy.” You hear that? Plus, he can speak Spanish, which can obviously solve Gleyber Torres’ disastrous issues at the plate, where Simmons is famously one of the worst at this very moment.
Do the Yankees need to spend $350 million to solve their shortstop issues? Not at all. But they really do not have to swing the pendulum in the complete opposite direction and go with the cheapest option simply because he once played the best defense of any shortstop five years ago. He’s been regressing in that department too since 2018, as evidenced by a few metrics:
- 2017: 41 Defensive Runs Saved, 18.5 UZR/150
- 2018: 17 Defensive Runs Saved, 19.5 UZR/150
- 2019: 8 Defensive Runs Saved, 13.8 UZR/150
- 2020: -2 Defensive Runs Saved, 4.0 UZR/150
- 2021: 15 Defensive Runs Saved, -1.1 UZR/150
And then you have advanced offensive stats that make it even worse:
- 2017: 102 OPS+
- 2018: 108 OPS+
- 2019: 78 OPS+
- 2020: 94 OPS+
- 2021: 57 OPS+
Bad hitter. Declining defense. Heading into age-32 season. It’s far from the most sensible option for the richest organization in the sport, regardless of what scouts tell you.