The New York Yankees made their play early into the 2019 offseason who their future at shortstop was. And they were tipping their hand during the 2019 regular season when rumors over their parting of ways with Didi Gregorius started coming out. It’s been clear for a while they intended to move Gleyber back to shortstop.
But is his Spring Training starting to show how much of a mistake that was?
I’ve Said it Before, I’ll Say it Again, He’s a Better Second Baseman
As George King and Ken Davidoff point we in the New York Post, Gleyber committed most of his errors last season at shortstop. And he played most of his games in the field at short. Out of the 20 errors he made last season combined, 11 were at short. He’s also committed 5 errors in 10 games in Spring Training.
I’ve argued before that “You can’t use a poor Spring Training performance as insight for the season to come”. But I’ve also pointed out the troubles defensively Gleyber has had defensively at short in the big leagues. This should be concerning for the Yankees, as it’s clear they want DJ to be their starting second baseman.
When Do You Consider the Move a Failure?
Sanchez had 2018 to forget, both offensively and defensively. With Judge being consistently hurt, Torres is becoming a lynchpin in that batting order. If his defensive woes at short continue, and he can’t figure it out, does that impact his offense the same way Sanchez’s defensive woes in 2018 effected him? Chuck Knoblauch saw his offense nose dive in the ’90s after his defensive instability became more obvious. And we’re talking about a former Gold Glove-winning second baseman.
This should concern the Yankees.
What This Could Mean for 2020 and 2021
If the New York Yankees have to move Gleyber back to second, you have to decide who you’re going to keep. If you want to keep DJ and want him to play, his second position on the field is third base. That’s the position currently occupied by Gio Urshela. Urshela is several years younger than DJ, and the analytics are going to show (and the Yankees are all in on analytics right now), that would mean they go with Urshela.
But what if Urshela regresses to what he was pre-2019 offensively? What if Urshela’s defensive liabilities (according to FanGraphs, he was the second worse defensive third baseman in baseball last season, showing a natural progression for Andujar if he was healthy), do you move Torres back to second, DJ to third, and have Wade as your shortstop, to then trade for a shortstop at the deadline?
The fact that the Yankees couldn’t find the same stats I found on Torre’s Defense is alarming. And the fact that his defensive liabilities at short are becoming more obvious makes you question why they didn’t just resign Didi in the first place.