Wildly optimistic projection: What if the New York Yankees determine Anthony Volpe is their guy to take over at shortstop on Opening Day? Wildly pessimistic projection: What if the New York Yankees, like Michael Kay said on Wednesday's broadcast, start Isiah Kiner-Falefa at shortstop on Opening Day?
Are those our only two options? No, there's always Oswald Peraza, who many figure to start come March 30, but we still don't know if that'll be the case. In the event the Yankees move forward with either the Volpe or IKF scenario, though, is there a possibility they would be creating a path to trade Peraza?
Volpe still figures to be the shortstop of the future, and the manner in which the Yankee utilized Peraza down the stretch in 2022 didn't exactly exude confidence in the young infielder. So, do you care if we talk about a drastic hypothetical?
Over on the West Coast, the Los Angeles Dodgers saw starting shortstop Gavin Lux go down with a torn ACL. He'll miss all of 2023. While we already posited IKF could be a potential trade candidate for LA, something tells us the powerhouse Dodgers are thinking bigger.
The only problem is that making a blockbuster-esque trade this late in the offseason is almost unheard of. Every team is getting prepared for Opening Day and likely isn't in the business of upending their roster in a major way with the clock ticking fast.
But what about a trade for top prospects either at the MLB level or nearing their MLB debuts? That's where Peraza comes in for this experiment. What if the Yankees call up the Dodgers and offer up Peraza for top pitching prospect Bobby Miller as a starting point for talks?
Could Yankees' hypothetical Oswald Peraza trade interest the Dodgers?
Peraza is the Yankees' No. 3 overall prospect. Miller is the Dodgers' No. 2 overall prospect. The Dodgers can't be enthused moving forward with Miguel Rojas as their everyday starter at shortstop for the upcoming season. And their organizational depth at the position is weak, especially after they traded No. 15 prospect Jacob Amaya for Rojas this offseason.
With Lux out, Rojas, who was supposed to be the utility infield option, gets the bump to short. Who's next in line after that, though? No. 10 prospect Eddys Leonard? Who hasn't played a game above High-A yet? That doesn't even put him on track to play in 2024. You have to go all the way down to Nos. 25 and 26 prospects, Wilman Diaz and Rayne Doncon, to find a trace of shortstop experience.
A Yankees-Dodgers dealing on this front could be a gentleman's swap from positions of strength/surplus. The Dodgers have Miller, No. 6 prospect Ryan Pepiot, No. 7 prospect Gavin Stone, No. 11 prospect Landon Knack and No. 12 prospect Nick Nastrini coming up the pipeline with high expectations. The Yankees have Volpe, Peraza, Oswaldo Cabrera, Trey Sweeney and Roderick Arias as immediate or upcoming shortstop options. The Dodgers need more shortstops. The Yankees need more pitching with Luis Severino (and Frankie Montas) hitting free agency after 2023. They also traded away top prospects Hayden Wesneski, Ken Waldichuk, JP Sears, Alexander Vizcaino, TJ Sikkema, Luis Medina, Beck Way and Glenn Otto over the last 18 months.
Whether it's Miller or Stone coming back in return for Peraza in this hypothetical deal, the Yankees can better project their 2024 rotation with a young, high-impact option, while the Dodgers fill their shortstop vacancy seamlessly for the foreseeable future. If the Yankees deem Volpe ready and Peraza becomes valuable trade bait, the Dodgers are the team to call.