Is a Didi Gregorius reunion be in the offing?
With the New York Yankees’ front off not even giving a sniff as to what they will do to replace Gleyber Torres at short, only rumors have been swirling. At first, a statement came out that the Yankees would be going big in filling the position. Not much later, they seemed to indicate they might go the stopgap way and fill the position with a lesser player while waiting for Oswald Peraza and Anthony Volpe to develop to the major league level.
Two of the four best shortstop free agents went off the market to the Texas Rangers during that time. With Marcus Semien and Corey Seager gone, it leaves just Carlos Correa and Trevor Story as major contenders. Neither of those is likely to end up a Yankee, one due to cost and the other with questionable health issues. This has most recently caused the rumor that Didi Gregorius might be headed back to the Yankees.
Gregorius has certainly not been quiet on social media about his future. This is the last year of his contract with the Phillies, and if he was to go to the Yankees, the Phillies would likely have to eat a large amount of his salary. This is not the Didi of his first stint with the Yankees. Last season in 103 games, he hit only 13 home runs with a batting average of only .209. His defense is still there, but his performance at the plate may be a no-no for the Yankees. This writer does not see a reunion as an option.
Would slugger Aaron Judge consider a move away from the Yankees?
The no longer young Aaron Judge has suggested recently that leaving the Yankees is an option for him after this season. This is probably the only time, due to his age (30), that he will be able to make that big score in the money department.
“If we get an extension done before the season starts, that’d be great. I’d be completely honored to wear pinstripes for a couple more years. But if it doesn’t happen and this is my last year [as a Yankee], I had a lot of great memories.”
That statement was not Derek Jeter-like, with an indication that if the Yankees don’t sign him up, he may look elsewhere.
At least one Yankee player is likely to be gone in 2022
Many Yankees fans feel that first baseman Luke Voit may have been held over, only to be used as a trade piece. Others feel that in the end, the Yankees will not be spending big for a new first baseman, and Voit will be their man. That won’t be cleared up until the lockout is over. One thing that is relatively clear is that Miguel Andujar may have seen his last days in pinstripes.
After Gio Urshela became the everyday third baseman for the Yankees, the team has tried everything to salvage the young man, but to no avail. He is not the best choice at third, he has also been tried at first base and in the outfield without impressive results. This writer believes he will be traded off for one of the Yankees’ needs.
As the lockout persists, when will spring training start?
Major League Baseball, unable to come to a new agreement with the players union after the start and stop negotiations, has announced that spring training will be moved back at least until March 5th.
“We regret that, without a collective bargaining agreement in place, we must postpone the start of Spring Training games until no earlier than Saturday, March 5,” the league said in a statement.
Now the question remains, is March 5 a realistic date? The two sides in the negotiations, although making some progress, is still deadlocked on the main issue, and that is money and who gets what in revenue sharing. With all the back and forth so far, an agreement seems no closer today than it did two months ago. That March 5th date may be too optimistic unless there is compromise.
Meanwhile, non-roster players who are not members of the players union are working out at local high school fields in both Florida and Arizona.
Only one infield position seems to be a lock
With sitting out the offseason before the lockout, the Yankee team seems not closer to who will be the Yankee shortstop. For that matter, who will be the first baseman as well. The only infield position that seems a lock is that Gleyber Torres will be the second baseman after being moved from short at the end of the 2021 season.
The Yankees do have options for who will play at first and at short; some of those options put Gio Urshela’s career at the hot corner in question, as well. If Gio is not traded to fill one of the other positions, he will remain at third or will be shifted to short. The Yankees at the end of the lockout will have to look closely at Carlos Correa or Trevor Story at short as well as the Rangers Isiah Kiner-Falefa. Kiner-Falefa also is versatile, showing off at third base last season.
As far as the dilemma at first base, the Yankees could, but hopefully not, keep Luke Voit as their first baseman. They could also resign Anthony Rizzo, go after Matt Olson, or even the big prize, Freddie Freeman, who has failed to make a deal with the Atlanta Braves.