Yankees could try to trade for this brilliant defender to improve infield

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at San Diego Padres
Credit: Ray Acevedo-USA TODAY Sports

Tommy Edman isn’t a flashy player, but he’s quietly been one of the better players in baseball over the last few seasons, and the Yankees could be a team that inquires about his services. With the infield being a massive question mark for the Bronx Bombers, getting Edman to be a supplementary piece helps their infield on both sides of the ball. The former Gold Glover has the defensive and baserunning chops to be an excellent bottom-of-the-order presence, and while his bat is very average, it could improve in a ballpark like Yankee Stadium.

With club control for this season and the next, could the Yankees swing a trade with the Cardinals to land a versatile bat that could deepen the lineup and improve their defensive alignment?

Is Tommy Edman an Answer For the Yankees’ Infield Problems?

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Milwaukee Brewers
Credit: Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

Currently on the IL as he recovers from wrist surgery that he underwent earlier in the year, Tommy Edman has yet to play an inning for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2024. That being said, their GM John Mozeliak revealed last week that they expect to see him return to the team this month, and his sample size from last year is pretty encouraging. Some will look at the 92 wRC+ and roll their eyes, but his batted ball data works extremely well for the Bronx, and you’re just hoping for a great glove with a good enough bat.

According to Baseball Savant, Tommy Edman would have hit three more home runs had he played at Yankee Stadium instead of the cavernous Busch Field, and he’s just a year removed from posting a 106 wRC+ and 5.4 fWAR. The Yankees have an 87 wRC+ and 0.7 fWAR out of the third base position, so getting a 95-100 wRC+ bat with excellent defensive skills would certainly improve the bottom of the lineup. In just 570 innings at third base, he has +3 Defensive Runs Saved and +10 Outs Above Average, and his excellent athleticism and strong arm make him a natural fit to play anywhere.

Yankees, Tommy Edman

It doesn’t matter where you play Tommy Edman, he’ll play above-average or elite defense, and that’s important down the stretch since injuries can affect your lineup in an instant. There are plenty of examples of the Yankees needing to make late-season changes to the lineup due to untimely injuries, with Andrew Velasquez starting in the 2021 Wild Card Game because DJ LeMahieu suffered a late-season injury and Oswaldo Cabrera winning the left field job down the stretch in 2022 because Andrew Benintendi broke his hamate bone on a swing.

Tommy Edman would hopefully get penciled in at third base, but the Yankees could move him around the infield (or outfield) if an injury arose that required a new alignment. While you might not get incredible value at the plate, there’s a good chance he would be an average hitter at the plate at a place like Yankee Stadium, and the baserunning value you would add to a slow lineup could greatly benefit the team as well.

From 2022-2023, he stoled the fifth-most bases (59) while only being caught seven times, and that element to his game could make the bottom of the order even more difficult to navigate through for opposing pitchers. Edman has the contact skills to work at-bats and get on base, but the hope I have is that the more homer-friendly dimensions of Yankee Stadium bring up the SLG% and ISO numbers a little bit.

READ MORE: Yankees are facing a potential big change at first base

This is his spray chart from 2022-2023 overlayed with Yankee Stadium, and Baseball Savant had him at 32 home runs over that stretch at Yankee Stadium instead of the 26 he actually hit. That’s a pretty significant boost, and the Yankees could reap the benefits of having a Gold Glove infielder (or outfielder) with a solid bat and 25-30 SB potential on their roster if they were to pick up Tommy Edman.

Risks in this deal would be the fact that wrist surgery often hurts a player’s power output, but this trade would be in the scenario that he comes back and performs right around his career norms (or hopefully even better). The Yankees have the pitching and prospects to entice the St. Louis Cardinals, who don’t look like the kind of team that could make any noise in the postseason. Even if they believed they could compete, the Yankees could always add some MLB-ready pitching that could give the Cardinals a reason to make the deal.

These two teams have discussed deals often, although nothing has come to fruition, and we know the Cardinals have shown interest in arms like Clayton Beeter in the past. We’ll see if these two teams discuss again, but Tommy Edman could be a really strong pickup for the Yankees.

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