Yankees could replace Gleyber Torres at shortstop: 3 free agent options

New York Yankees, Didi Gregorius
Feb 23, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA;New York Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius (18) at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees experimented with Gleyber Torres at shortstop in 2019, making the full transition to the spot in 2020. It was always a bit optimistic for Torres to find his home at shortstop after looking far better at second base in a larger sample size. This past season, Torres had plenty of struggles, specifically when it came to routine plays.

Some argue that Torres is actually a liability at the position, and letting go of the Didi Gregorius last season might’ve been a mistake. Torres finished the 2020 campaign with a .933 fielding percentage, nine errors, and 11 double plays turned. He was far below the league average, which has opened the door to a potential free-agent signing. This would force Gleyber back to second base in the scenario that DJ LeMahieu takes his talents elsewhere.

Even Yankees’  general manager Brian Cashman failed to instill confidence in the infielder:

“(Torres) wasn’t in the best shape to start the second spring training,” Cashman said while on “Yankees Hot Stove” on the YES Network on Thursday night. “On his return from the shutdown, we spent a little bit … first half of the season playing catchup, maybe in the first 40 or 45 games of the season playing catchup. Once we got him back online and in shape, we saw, towards the last 20 games including the playoffs, the Gleyber Torres we’re used to seeing.”

Cashman did acknowledge that second base is better for him than shortstop, which opens up the possibility of a blockbuster trade with a team like the Cleveland Indians that could benefit both sides.

The New York Yankees could make a change at shortstop:

1.) Didi Gregorius

Gregorius was a fan favorite with the Yankees in the past, best known for his post-game tweets. However, he is a fantastic defensive shortstop that also is efficient in the batter’s box.

This past year, he earned a .284 average with 10 homers and 40 RBIs. He had a career-low 11.8 strikeout percentage, indicating a full recovery from Tommy John surgery over a year ago. Defensively, he finished with a .968 fielding percentage, seven errors, and 33 double plays.

He might be looking for a multi-year extension, but would likely be a bit cheaper than acquiring Francisco Lindor and extending him.

2.) Andrelton Simmons

Another option is Andrelton Simmons, who has spent the last five seasons with the Angels. He is a solid offensive player who records low strike-out rates and hits for contact. He put up a .297 average this past season with a .346 on-base percentage.

Defensively, Simmons earned a .960 fielding percentage with four errors, and nine double plays turned. Comparing him to Gregorius, it seems as if the latter is a more refined player and worthy of consideration.

3) Marcus Semien

Another quality option is Marcus Semien, who is spent the last five seasons with the Oakland Athletics. He had a down year offensively in 2020, hitting .223 with a 21.2% strikeout rate, the highest it’s been in three years. Defensively, he hovered in the same range as Simmons and Gregorius, so any of the three options will suffice in that category.

One thing to like about Semien is that he has solid health history, indicating he’s a reliable player who the New York Yankees can utilize without worry.