Yankees have 2 options to fill the starting third base position

mlb: game two-new york yankees at boston red sox, oswald peraza
Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees face a challenging task ahead as they seek to reinforce their roster and address vital starting positions. With Josh Donaldson’s departure to the Milwaukee Brewers, the spotlight is on finding a fitting third baseman, capable of both strong offense and dependable defense.

Despite the hefty $50 million they shelled out for Donaldson across two years, the return on investment was far from favorable. However, a potential solution might be closer than expected in Oswald Peraza.

A Glimpse at Oswald Peraza

This 23-year-old might just be the answer the Yankees are seeking. Playing 52 games this past season, Peraza posted a .191 average with stats indicating room for growth. Despite a few hiccups in his performance, September showcased his potential, hinting at his MLB readiness.

But where Peraza truly shines is his Gold Glove-caliber defense. Having dedicated 300 innings to third base, he managed to secure one defensive run saved. His primary position is shortstop, but more exposure at third could boost his confidence and performance. Yet, the pressing question remains – can his offense match up?

During his Triple-A stint, Peraza had a reasonable showing, but there’s an evident need for improvement.

Exploring the Free Agent Market

Another avenue for the Yankees is the free agent market. An enticing prospect here is Jeimir Candelario. Linked with the Yankees earlier as a potential trade target, Candelario, a 29-year-old infielder, offers a balanced plate approach, switch-hitting capabilities, and consistent health, making him a valuable asset.

This season, splitting his time between the Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs, Candelario boasted a .251 batting average and an impressive 117 wRC+. Not just an offensive asset, his .304 average with a .400 OBP with runners in scoring position makes him an intriguing player, considering the Yankees’ recent struggle in these very moments.

Defensively, over 994 innings at third base, Candelario maintained a commendable .971 fielding percentage, although with a slight dip in defensive runs saved. His balanced skill set — not necessarily excelling in one area but being proficient across the board — could provide the lineup balance the Yankees sorely need.

The Yankees’ Decision Ahead

Given Candelario’s evident strengths and recent performance, if the Yankees’ general manager, Brian Cashman, is willing to invest, it could be a worthy move. This would allow Peraza to either slide into a versatile utility role or be utilized in a strategic trade, perhaps to bolster the outfield.

With the necessary resources at their disposal, the Yankees can approach the situation with flexibility. But caution is paramount, especially when considering players with hefty contracts. The way forward calls for astute decision-making.

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