Life is good with Isiah Kiner-Falefa as the New York Yankees starting shortstop. He’s brought sure-handed defense and an element on offense (aggression, contact-heavy) that this lineup has lacked for a couple years. Most fans are beyond pleased with his production.
However, not too long ago, fans were lobbying for general manager Brian Cashman to sign Corey Seager, who eventually joined the Texas Rangers on a 10-year, $325 million contract … which very much was NOT what the Yankees were trying to add to their payroll.
But what if they were were willing to add another $200+ million contract to the books and ultimately ended up with Seager? Surely wouldn’t have been a bad thing! But what would the Yankees lineup look like?
For starters, IKF and Josh Donaldson wouldn’t be here. The Yankees don’t make that trade with the Minnesota Twins had they been comfortable spending more money in free agency.
That makes you a little nervous, right? IKF and Donaldson have actually been intrinsic to the team’s MLB-best 18-7 start. How much better could things really be?
Maybe this was the answer all along. Avoiding one of the high-priced free agents might’ve limited the Yankees in other ways, judging by this lineup we determined would exist had Seager been signed.
Imagining a 2022 Yankees lineup if they signed Corey Seager
- 2B DJ LeMahieu
- RF Aaron Judge
- SS Corey Seager
- DH Giancarlo Stanton
- 1B Luke Voit (?) / 1B Matt Olson (?)
- LF Joey Gallo
- 3B Gio Urshela (?)
- C Gary Sánchez (?) / C Sean Murphy (?)
- CF Aaron Hicks
This is assuming no other move was made. The Yankees ended up re-signing Anthony Rizzo for $16 million, dumping Urshela and Sánchez in the Minnesota trade, and sending Voit to the Padres. The lack of another big contract weighing them down allowed for this kind of flexibility.
But if Seager was in the fold, could they have afforded Rizzo? Would they have been able to find a trade partner for Sánchez without having to eat someone else’s salary (which they did with Donaldson)? Is Aaron Judge’s contract extension situation a lot more cloudy?
Maybe then they trade one of their top infield prospects for Matt Olson and ride it out for two years ($12 million in 2022 and ~$16 million in 2023)? Perhaps expand that deal for Sean Murphy and just jettison Sánchez for literally whatever anyone’s willing to offer? The only static situation we can envision is Urshela remaining at third base.
Or maybe Gallo is actually sent off as part of the salary relief and there’s more of a variation with Judge, Hicks, Stanton, Locastro and someone else in the outfield.
See how complicated this might’ve been? Still doable without a doubt … just very difficult to imagine after what Cashman pulled off (and the fact that it’s resulted in an 18-7 start).
Plus, Seager’s only hitting .258 with a .712 OPS, 113 OPS+, 10 runs scored, 4 homers and 12 RBI. He might be performing better in the Yankees’ lineup surrounded by superior hitters, but IKF’s .295 average, 110 OPS+, defensive prowess (among the league SS leaders in DRS), and aggression on the bases is kind of all this team needed to not be redundant and disappointing.
Yankees fans will take Seager any day, but nobody’s arguing with the current situation and the various elements IKF has provided on both sides of the ball.