Tuesday, November 28

Ranking of the Yankees’ 8 best options as shortstop in 2022, from Carlos Correa to Andrelton Simmons

In the opinion of Yankees decision makers, Gleyber Torres is “Best served” as second baseman from now on. And that means finding a new shortstop is an “area of ​​need”.

Brian Cashman, the Yankees’ longtime general manager, He said “we have to address it.”

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There you go The Yankees are looking for a shortstop for the 2022 season. Fortunately for them, the crop of free agent shortstops is deep this year, both in quality and quantity. The question is, will the Yankees go fishing at the top of the market? The contracts up there won’t be cheap, and there’s something else to consider.

Take a look at the organization’s agricultural system. By MLB.com RankingThree of the Yankees’ top seven prospects are shortstops: Anthony Volpe (No. 1), Oswald Perez (No. 3) and Trey Sweeney (No. 7). Baseball America has Volpe as the No. 22 prospect in all of baseball and Perez ranked 58th. Not bad. The MLB.com ETA for both prospects is 2023.

The question is, how much do you believe in young people? Enough to miss out on one of the best established shortstops available on the free agent market? If they sign one of the big names, they could always move prospects into a deal, or maybe transition prospects to different positions. All of this is to say that the Yankees have options for the future.

Let’s take a look at the most likely candidates to play shorts at Yankee Stadium in 2022.

1. Carlos Correa

Low season status: Free agent

Why it fits: Correa is seen as a villain, for sure. That will likely never change, at least in the eyes of some fans after the Astros’ signal theft scandal. But he’s a great baseball player and he just turned 27 in September. He is an above-average defensive shortstop and outstanding hitter, with a knack for stepping up in the moments that matter most. It’s easy to see that Yankees fans accept him as their villain after an important month or two.

Here’s the thing though: he’s going to land a massive deal this offseason. Will the Yankees be the team that beats the rest? They already have massive deals with Gerrit Cole and Giancarlo Stanton, and at some point soon they will have to deal with the status of Aaron Judge. Even if they considered Correa the best option to help the team win in 2022, would he give him the contract that would be needed to get him the best long-term play for the franchise? That is what they will have to find out.

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2. Corey Seager

Low season status: Free agent

Why it fits: Same with Correa, except without the whole villain thing (unless you’re a Giants fan who hates all of the Dodgers, of course). Is giving a shortstop a massive long-term contract the right move for the franchise? Seager has the postseason pedigree, remember his World Series and NL Championship Series MVPs last year? – and it’s easy to see his home run totals go up on that left-handed swing from his deposit shot after pitch on the little porch in right field. He’s only a few months older than Correa, turned 27 last April, and while he’s struggled to stay healthy, he’s been super productive on the field.

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3. Trevor Story

Low season status: Free agent

Why it fits: To be sure, Story’s value as a free agent has been bolstered by the strong post-Colorado seasons of former Rockies hitting stars DJ LeMahieu and Nolan Arenado. His final Rockies season wasn’t an ideal way to enter the free agency market, but he still had 24 home runs and 20 stolen bases, 13 and 10, respectively, on the road. Most of his power is in left field, but his overall spraying table is pretty spread out. He’d certainly get more than an occasional home run over that little right-field fence. Oh, and from 2018 to 2021, he ranks fourth among MLB shortstop in DRS, at 44, so he fits that “defensive shortstop” element as well.

4. Marcus Seeds

Low season status: Free agent

Why it fits: Yes, Semien is a few years older than Correa, Seager or Story, he is 31 years old, but it is not like he is at the end of his prime and looking for a short-term contract. He’s still going to get something at least four years long, which would make him anything but a placeholder for Yankees shortstop prospects. Semien was incredible for the Blue Jays in 2021, hitting 45 home runs and stealing 15 bases while playing second base for Toronto. The added advantage of signing Semien would keep him away from the Blue Jays, who are considered likely favorites to sign him this offseason.

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5. Javier Báez

Low season status: Free agent

Why it fits: We saw the best and worst of Javy Baez in his short time with the Mets after the other New York club traded him in late July. There was the whole “thumbs down” thing, but in his last 33 games with the Mets, he hit .333 with a .970 OPS, seven home runs, 17 RBIs and five stolen bases. He’s not the best defensive shortstop out there, but he’s still well above average with the glove. The question with Baez is the same as the question with Correa, Seager and Story: Do the Yankees want to commit the kind of years and money it would take to sign him when they have so many elite shortstop prospects on the road?

6. José Iglesias

Low season status: Free agent

Why it fits: Few players increased their value as a free agent more in September than Iglesias, who joined the Red Sox after the playoff roster deadline but made a big impact anyway. In 23 games, he hit .356 with a .406 on-base percentage. And that was after Iglesias, always an outstanding defensive shortstop, hit .373 in 39 games for Baltimore in 2020. He’s not going to have a long, lucrative contract, but he’s probably earned a starting job somewhere in 2021. Yes a stellar defense and a short-term solution is the Yankees’ priority, they could do much worse than Iglesias, who will turn 32 this offseason.

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7. Paul DeJong

Low season status: Cardinals infielder

Why it fits: DeJong probably wouldn’t be one of the top five options, but he’s available and looks like a classic “change of scenery” candidate. Think of it as a possible remedy until the prospects come in, with solid upside potential. Let’s start with this: DeJong is an above-average defensive shortstop, which is part of the reason the Cardinals kept playing him even as his bat went cold in 2021. Since 2018, he’s sixth among shortstop with at least 3,000 entries in the final. position in DRS, with 36, and fourth in UZR / 150, with 7.9. DeJong spent most of his time with the Cardinals hitting third (152 games) or fifth (130 games), but that would not be the case with the Yankees. In that lineup, when everyone is healthy, DeJong hits eighth or ninth, and it would be nice to have his kind of pop (30 home runs in 2019, when he was an All-Star).

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Also, do you remember the “change of scenery” thing? The Cardinals wouldn’t demand a ton in return, and their contract is team-friendly; He owes him a total of $ 15 million through 2023, with club options for 2024 and 2025. If he regains his power punch and finds a little more consistency, great. If all it brings is a defensive upgrade with occasional pop and makes way for one of the kids in 2023, that would be fine too.

8. Andrelton Simmons

Low season status: Free agent

Why it fits: Check out the responses to any Yankees journalist who tweeted Cashman’s mention of “defensive shortstop” and you’ll see panicked Yankees fans say, “Oh no, no Simmons!” He is 32 years old and his defensive numbers were solid, although far from the elite as he has been his entire career. Have you missed a step? If managers feel that he has actually done it, it could be difficult for him to find a job this offseason, at least early this offseason. Simmons has never been much of an offensive threat (his career best OPS + is 108), but he hit an all-time low in 2021, hitting just .223 with 15 extra-base hits (12 doubles, three homers) at 451 PA. , to go with a 57 OPS +. Right now, he feels like a candidate for an off-the-list invite to spring training.


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