The Yankees may already have their stop-gap shortstop on the roster for the 2022 season

New York Yankees, Gio Urshela
Apr 7, 2019; Baltimore, MD, USA; New York Yankees third baseman Gio Urshela (29) throws to first base during the third inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Most New York Yankees fans are enamored by the idea of signing a big-name shortstop to fill the position and offer above-average play in 2022 and beyond.

However, signing a player like Carlos Correa to a 10-year deal could put them in a tough spot considering their admiration for Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza. Management is extremely high on their young prospects, but they are a few seasons away from getting a crack at the starting job.

While names like Trevor Story, Matt Chapman, and even Elvis Andrus have bubbled to the surface, the Yankees could go with a player already on the roster to fill the void.

One underrated option is Gio Urshela, who has spent the last three seasons as the Yankees’ third baseman, manning the hot corner. Enjoying a .267 batting average this past year with 14 homers and 49 RBIs, Urshela is a quality player that features above-average defense. Urshela recorded a .959 fielding percentage at third base last season, the highest it’s been since joining the Yankees in 2018.

Theoretically, the Yankees coach shift Urshela over to shortstop and put DJ LeMahieu at third base, investing more in pitching and a big game free agent like Freddie Freeman to fill first base.

In fact, Gio has been working alongside teammate Gleyber Torres this off-season, training at shortstop while Torres holds down second base.

Torres has always been a more efficient second baseman, earning a .986 fielding percentage over 19 games at the position last year after losing his job at shortstop. Back in 2019, he recorded a .967 fielding percentage, showcasing inconsistencies but far out-playing his abysmal performance in 2021 at the most important position in the infield.

While LeMahieu prefers second base, he’s capable of playing any infield spot, which gives the Yankees a bit of leverage in the situation. They could spend big money on a stopgap, but Urshela deserves a chance to prove he can play shortstop at an adequate level.

Over 28 games in 2021, the 29-year-old recorded a .970 fielding percentage at SS, with a sample size of 200 innings. He hovered around league average, which is all the Yankees need to see a significant improvement at the spot.

The decision to start Urshela at SS would likely be joined by pessimism, it would allow Brian Cashman to spend lucrative money at other spots, which could be far more beneficial for the team’s long-term strategy.