Insider reports Yankees’ interest in a reunion with veteran infielder

MLB: Miami Marlins at Los Angeles Angels
Jessica Alcheh-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees have shown some interest in adding veteran depth to their infield as they’ve shown interest in Tony Kemp in free agency, and they’ve once again been linked to a familiar face. Gio Urshela, who has been reported to be a player of interest to the Yankees previously, is once again rumored to be a target. Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports that the Yankees, Mets, and Marlins are among teams interested in his services, and their familiarity with him could give them comfort in handing him a prove-it deal.

Depth at third base is a question for the Yankees, who have the aging DJ LeMahieu and unproven Oswald Peraza projected to split time there, and Urshela could provide another option to help them at the hot corner.

Yankees Showing Interest in Gio Urshela

MLB: Minnesota Twins at New York Yankees
Sep 5, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; Minnesota Twins third baseman Gio Urshela (15) at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

With the Yankees looking to shore up third base, the team could get a slight boost in production and some added security by bringing in Gio Urshela. The 32-year-old infielder was an incredible hitter for the team from 2019-2020, posting a 133 wRC+ and slugging .523 before a harsh regression in 2021 led to a trade. He was part of the infamous trade that sent Josh Donaldson, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, and Ben Rortvedt to the Yankees, joining Gary Sanchez in Minnesota and also departing after one season with the team.

Urshela was solid with the Twins, slashing .285/.338/.429 with a 2.4 fWAR and proving to be a quality third baseman as Josh Donaldson floundered, but they’d choose to trade him after the season. The Los Angeles Angels, needing insurance in their infield with the oft-injured Anthony Rendon slotted in at third, traded for Gio Urshela just for him to suffer a season-ending injury after 62 games. He posted a 92 wRC+, his worst mark since 2018, and has remained unsigned in free agency.

MLB: Spring Training-Tampa Bay Rays at New York Mets
Mar 12, 2023; Port St. Lucie, Florida, USA; New York Mets shortstop Ronny Mauricio (60) rounds third base following his home run during the fifth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Clover Park. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Ronny Mauricio’s unfortunate ACL tear in the Dominican Winter League has given the New York Mets a reason to go out and acquire a third baseman, even as they try to find at-bats for Brett Baty and Mark Vientos. Urshela is a low-cost option that wouldn’t interfere with David Stearns’ plan to position the Mets for a huge offseason next winter, and he could be a valuable trade chip if they were to fall out of contention in the summer. His familiarity in New York and versatility to play first base would also prove valuable if they want to give Pete Alonso days off or have him DH.

As for the Miami Marlins, they’re in desperation mode as they look for any sort of weapons on offense following a postseason appearance last year. The Philadelphia Phillies thrashed them in the Wild Card Series, and their lack of improvements has put them in danger of missing out on October. Neither team is as desperate to contend as the Yankees are this season, but both teams are less secure in their infield than the Bronx Bombers, which creates an interesting battle for Gio Urshela’s services.

MLB: New York Yankees at Kansas City Royals
Oct 1, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; New York Yankees first baseman DJ LeMahieu (26) is congratulated by a teammate after scoring during the sixth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

DJ LeMahieu is going to be the team’s starting third baseman barring an injury, and the speed and versatility that Oswald Peraza provides likely make him a better reserve infielder than Gio Urshela. One could also argue that Oswaldo Cabrera can fill the role that Peraza does since he’s a natural shortstop who won’t have to play as much outfield with both Alex Verdugo and Trent Grisham added to the roster. Signing Gio Urshela would come without the guarantee that he’ll get enough at-bats to rebuild his value, whereas, in Miami or Queens, he could get significantly more playing time.

That could be the differentiating factor for Gio Urshela, who wants to get back to his 2022 form and earn a multi-year deal elsewhere next winter. With the Yankees having interest in Tony Kemp as well, it’s clear that they want a reserve infielder, not someone to start over LeMahieu, and while the 35-year-old wasn’t great last season, he was still better than Gio Urshela on both sides of the ball. It’ll be interesting to see if Brian Cashman makes a move to improve their infield depth or not, but Urshela could be someone they ask about as they prepare for Spring Training.