Why the Yankees could trade for Francisco Lindor and move DJ LeMahieu to first base

Alexander Wilson
New York yankees, Francisco Lindor
Sep 25, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) during the sixth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

The realistic infield for the 2020 New York Yankees includes first baseman Luke Voit in the mix, but general manager Brian Cashman could look to shake things up if he doesn’t see Gleyber Torres as a long-term solution at shortstop yet.

The third base spot is all but locked up with Gio Urshela, who exploded onto the scene last season, hitting .314, setting a career-high after recording a best of .233 the year before. Not only was the third baseman effective on offense, but his defense made him a staple in the infield and allowed the Yankees to allocate resources elsewhere.

With injuries plaguing the starting team, utility-man, DJ LeMahieu, was shifted around the infield to supplement the team’s losses. He played every position at one point, but he excelled at first base despite second-base being his most influential position.

A scenario where the Yankees keep LeMahieu at first base:

Gleyber Torres is expected to be the future at shortstop with Didi Gregorius departing, but the reality is, he struggled defensively at the position in 2019. Over 77 games, he logged a .961 fielding percentage with 11 errors. Those aren’t convincing numbers that Torres can handle a full-season workload at the position, which could force Cashman to go out and sign a free agent other than Didi.

This is where Francisco Lindor enters the picture. This is a major hypothetical, considering the Yankees would have to part with real premium youth talent to pry him away from the Cleveland Indians. This deal wouldn’t be similar to the Giancarlo Stanton trade, where the Miami Marlins were practically begging teams to take his massive contract without having to give up any prospects.

Lindor would be costly, but his production has been stellar, as he hit .284 with 32 homers and 72 RBIs last season. He fits the Yankees mold perfectly, but without the elevated strikeout rate. Having a slugger shortstop would give the Bombers the ability to keep Torres at his stronger second-base position and slot LeMahieu in at first base, where he was valid throughout the postseason.

However, it also boils down the efficiency at first base between LeMahieu and Luke Voit. The utility man gradually improved as the season progressed, which gives the Yankees a bit more flexibility. He finished the year with a .992 fielding percentage and two errors over 40 games. Voit, on the other hand, played in double the contests with a .989 fielding percentage and seven errors. You could make the argument that LeMahieu is by far the better first baseman and should stay at the position, which opens up the door for a Lindor trade.