The Yankees’ infield could look a lot different in a few weeks

MLB: New York Yankees at Kansas City Royals
Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

As the trade deadline approaches, the New York Yankees are actively seeking to reinforce their roster to remain contenders for the World Series. While their starting pitching excels and the outfield ranks among the best in baseball, the infield faces significant challenges, particularly with the recent injury to Anthony Rizzo.

Yankees Strategize Amidst Infield Challenges

Anthony Rizzo’s recent arm fracture, which will sideline him for at least six weeks, has forced the Yankees to adjust their infield lineup urgently.

To address this loss, the Yankees have promoted Ben Rice, a prospect whose primary position is catcher but who has considerable experience playing first base. Rice’s recent performance in the minors has been impressive, with a batting average of .261/.382/.511 in Double-A and an even better .333/.440/.619 in Triple-A. This offensive production earned him a promotion, and he is now expected to fill in at first base.

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Rice’s promotion was timely, following a standout moment when he caught for Gerrit Cole, which significantly boosted his visibility and accelerated his ascent within the organization. If Rice continues to perform well at the major league level, he may even secure a permanent role, especially if he can maintain his offensive output upon Rizzo’s return.

However, first base is not the only position needing attention. DJ LeMahieu’s performance post-injury has been underwhelming, with a batting average of just .188 and an on-base percentage of .304 over 15 games. Despite being a reliable defender, LeMahieu’s offensive regression is a concern, highlighted by a career-low hard-hit rate of 38.9% and an average exit velocity of 88 mph.

The Yankees are also contending with difficulties at second base, where Gleyber Torres is struggling significantly. In a contract year, Torres’s performance has dipped to a .222 batting average with six home runs and 25 RBIs, a stark contrast to his previous season’s metrics. His lackluster at-bats have highlighted the need for potential reinforcements at both corner infield positions.

As General Manager Brian Cashman scans the market for possible additions, the Yankees are considering all options to bolster their infield. The trade deadline could see the Yankees making moves to add a third baseman with robust offensive capabilities, a challenging yet necessary endeavor to enhance their roster’s overall performance and maintain their championship aspirations. The next few months will be crucial for the Yankees as they navigate these infield challenges and prepare for the postseason push.

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