New York Yankees: Projected 2021 infield if DJ LeMahieu walks

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres
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Despite the New York Yankees prioritizing the extension of DJ LeMahieu, it is only responsible for us to consider what life without him might look like. Losing DJ would be catastrophic to the infield, given his ability to play multiple positions and his offensive prowess.

He finished the 2020 season with a .364 batting average, the highest in the MLB, 10 homers, and 27 RBIs. He also recorded a career-low 9.7% strikeout rate and a career-high .421 on-base percentage (Fangraphs). As far as defense, it was once again consistent and reliable, even if he was caught off guard by a few more errors than the norm.

LeMahieu has proved to everybody that he deserves to remain in the Bronx, even if his price tag and contract desires are a bit more than general manager Brian Cashman wants to deal out. It has been reported that the Toronto Blue Jays, a division rival with the Yankees, are also highly interested in signing LeMahieu. Letting him go to a rival would be a tough loss.

The expectation is that the Yankees will sign him soon, but Cashman wants to see if any other teams are willing to up the offer, which could end up backfiring in the grand scheme. Nonetheless, looking at the infield and what it might look like in 2021 without him is a reality we have to accept.

New York Yankees projected infield:

1B: Luke Voit

Luke Voit has locked down the first base position, and Cashman attested to that in an interview this week. He stated that the trade rumors regarding Voit are simply false, and he would remain at first base, a position he has fought for tirelessly.

“I am not pursuing any plan of trying to trade Luke Voit to sign LeMahieu to play first and do something different,” Cashman stated.” “That that’s not part of my plan.”

He finished the most recent year with a .277 average, 22 homers, and 52 RBIs. Defensively, he has seen massive growth in the area, allowing three errors and earning a .991 fielding percentage over 48 games. Most impressively, he thought through a foot injury the entire season, which only shows how tough he is and his desire to play for the Yankees.

2B: Gleyber Torres

Cashman admitted that Gleyber Torres was out of shape when the regular season started last year after Covid shut down operations. He also stated that Torres is better at second base, which would indicate his return to the position if DJ ends up signing elsewhere.

In this scenario, it’s for the best of the team that the Yankees find a different shortstop and move Gleyber back to a more familiar spot.

SS: Didi Gregorius

The Yankees could look to a familiar face at shortstop to supplement Torres moving back to second. Didi Gregorius had an amazing 2020 season, specifically on offense. He hit .284 with 10 homers and 40 RBIs, earning a career-low strikeout rate at 11.8%. It is clear that his injury problems are behind him after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2019. Defensively, he had a solid season and would be an upgrade over Torres.

3B: Gio Urshela

Urshela recently overcame COVID-19 and had a bone chip removed from his elbow, which he is still rehabilitating from. Nonetheless, he is the cemented third baseman and one of the best defensive players at the position in the MLB. His offense has taken significant strides forward, and he is a reliable player for the New York Yankees, so there will be no changes there. It is still incredible that Cashman managed to find Voit and Urshela, two underperforming players who are now starting on one of the biggest clubs in baseball. Simply magical.