The New York Yankees have a myriad of different alignments they can build in the infield this upcoming season, but one way or another, someone needs to be traded, given the money allocated toward big contracts.
Notably, Josh Donaldson is set to earn $21 million, and Isiah Kiner-Falefa $6 million after signing a fresh one-year contract. However, there is no guarantee that Donaldson or IKF will start at an infield position in 2023, especially with Oswald Peraza and Anthony Volpe taking on bigger roles.
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The Yankees are starting a battle at shortstop:
The Yankees are expected to curate a position battle at shortstop, in which Peraza, Volpe, and IKF will be competing. Peraza is expected to win the battle out of spring training, given his experience in the MLB last year and the team’s youth strategy moving forward. IKF struggled to field routine ground balls and made a minimal impact offensively in 2022, so giving Oswald the opportunity seems like the best course of action.
Second base is an entirely different conversation, which is currently housed by Gleyber Torres. Torres was involved in heavy trade rumors before the off-season began, especially after being included in negotiations at the trade deadline last summer.
However, Torres seems to have his position cemented with DJ LeMahieu’s injury, causing a bit of concern. There have been positive developments regarding LeMahieu’s toe issue that ended his 2022 season prematurely, notably the fact that he won’t need surgery and has been participating in baseball activities down in Tampa.
Having Torres around as a supplementary option or security blanket for DJ makes the most sense, which means general manager Brian Cashman could end up trading Torres next summer during the 2023 deadline, but his services are needed during the first half of the season.
Gleyber Torres is expected to get close to $10 million in arbitration and his name was involved in trade talks last season, and although the Yankees are confident DJ LeMahieu is healthy after a fracture near his right big toe robbed him of much of his effectiveness in the second half of he season, there is reason to be cautious about trading Torres.Per Dan Martin of the New York Post.
The Yankees don’t need to trade Torres, especially since he’s only 26 years old and coming off a decent season. He hit .257 with a .310 OBP, 24 homers, and 76 RBIs, including a 115 wRC+. He was a 2.7 WAR player in 2022 and projects to be a 3.4 WAR player in 2023, according to his Steamer projections. They also have them hitting .262 with a .327 OBP, 23 homers, and 73 RBIs. That would put him in the upper echelon of second basemen, and coming off a great defensive season, the Yanks shouldn’t be looking to trade him.
Across 1082.2 innings at second base, Torres recorded a .985 fielding percentage, accruing seven errors and tallying nine defensive runs saved above average. Unless the Yankees want to put Volpe at second base or Peraza depending on who wins the shortstop position battle, there’s no reason to include Torres in trade scenarios right now actively.
In fact, LeMahieu playing third base to open the year would be a perfect scenario since Volpe would likely need a few weeks, if not months, at the Triple-A level before making the jump