The New York Yankees have much to fix this offseason, primarily to their pitching staff, as at the moment, they only have a staff led by new pitching ace Gerrit Cole followed by Jordan Montgomery, that’s it. Of course, waiting in the wings, they do have Deivi Garcia, who made his major league debut at the end of last season. While the pitching rotation is causing all the speculation, there are other fish to fry for the Yankees: What to do with their starting catcher Gary Sanchez and how to fix the shortstop problem.
Probably for the duration of the offseason, at least for much of it, the major trade for the Yankees will be swirling around. That trade would put the Cleveland Indian’s star shortstop Francisco Lindor at short at Yankee Stadium. Many sportswriters believe at some point that that trade will happen between the Indians and Yankees. This writer does not believe that trade will ever happen.
Let’s take a close look at the situation. Yes, Gleyber Torres had a deficient first full year as the New York Yankees shortstop. The Yankees would surely like to upgrade that position. But at what cost? Francisco Lindor is an annual MVP player at short. That is not a question. But this writer believes that the cost to the Yankees will be too high for short term gain. Also, I believe it would cause as many problems as it solves.
Stumbling block number one is that any trade for Lindor would most certainly include the Yankees losing the rising star Clint Frazier, who could be the next big All-Star for years to come. MLB.com believes it would take Frazier, Miguel Andujar, Luis Gil, and possibly another prospect to put Lindor into pinstripes. That is a cost that general manager Brian Cashman would have to think long and hard at. In the end, I feel he will realize the short term gain is not worth giving up a player that may evolve into the biggest star the Yankees have had in years.
One must remember that Francisco Lindor will become a free agent after the 2021 season. At that point, Lindor will surely and rightly so, want a multi-hundred thousand dollar contract. That would put the Yankees in a position to spend much more than they will want to spend for a shortstop. So, most likely, they would end up having him at short for only one year.
Stumbling block number two is that if they get Lindor and become a free agent and lose him after just one year, they have the same position to fill again. Plus, if they do acquire Lindor, they will most likely move Gleyber Torres to his natural position at second base. If they do that, and most think they would, then what do they do with DJ LeMahieu, who they surely will try and maybe even overpay to have him remain with the Yankees.
Should the New York Yankees re-sign LeMahieu, which most experts believe they will, would surely put him at first base, displacing the 2020 home run leader Luke Voit. That move would leave Voit with no place to play, the same fate the Miguel Andujar is suffering from. Would general manager Cashman try to put a deal together that would include Voit and not Frazier? That’s a good question, but would the Indians accept that deal? Probably not.
The bottom line for the New York Yankees is that any trade for Francisco Lindor will be just too costly and complicated to complete. If they can’t sign LeMahieu but do make a trade for Lindor, they will be switching players and getting the short end of the deal. Brian Cashman will not make this trade, and Frazier will remain in pinstripes for years to come.
One New York Yankees player, Luke Voit, is traveling on some pretty thin ice, as he could be affected by a trade for Lindor, had this to say to Newsday:
â€œI think heâ€™s a great fit with us,â€ Voit said (h/t Newsdayâ€™sÂ Anthony Rieber). â€œI know he wants to be in New York. Iâ€™m sure every team wants him. Heâ€™s a stud. Thereâ€™s a reason he finished top three in MVP voting, even though I thought he deserved to win it. I think heâ€™s going to have a bunch of big-time offers, but I know he wants to win. I know he loves the guys in the clubhouse and loves the coaching staff and he wants to play in New York. I guess weâ€™ll see, but my gut says heâ€™s going to be a Yankee.â€
Luke, if that comes true, you may have just bought your ticket out of Yankee Stadium. Although I am sure this will be sitting atop the hot stove for most of the offseason, the Yankees will feel acquiring Francisco is just not worth the cost.
EmpireSportsMedia.com’s Columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research. Follow me on Twitter @parleewilliam.