Yankees linked to familiar stud defensive infielder

New York Yankees, Gio Urshela
Oct 19, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; New York Yankees third baseman Gio Urshela (29) hits a single during the ninth inning against the New York Yankees in game six of the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees are in dire need of more starting pitching, but general manager Brian Cashman is still scouring the market for additional reinforcements in the infield.

Manager Aaron Boone already indicated that veteran DJ LeMahieu would start the 2024 season at third base after a good defensive campaign. LeMahieu bounce back after a tough first half of the year offensively, picking things up during the second half following the All-Star break. However, if the Yankees want to bring in support, they may look to former Yankee Gio Urshela as a potential option.

The Yankees Have Been Linked to Gio Urshela in Free Agency

Urshela has recently been linked to the Mets as well, but according to Will Sammon of The Athletic, the Yankees are also interested in bringing him back on a cheap deal.

At 32 years old, Urshela suffered a serious pelvis injury that required crutches and a long rehabilitation process. However, he’s had success in the past, starting with his 2019 season with the Yankees, hitting .314/.355/.534, including 21 homers, 74 RBIs, and a 132 wRC+. This was by far his best campaign, but he’s had relatively high batting averages his entire career. His most recent positive season was in 2022 with the Minnesota Twins.

Urshela hit .258./.338/.429, mashing 13 homers with 64 RBIs. Funny enough, Cashman said Urshela was no Josh Donaldson when he acquired him from the Twins several years ago, but that trade ended up looking awful in hindsight.

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Nonetheless, if Urshela can continue hitting with a high batting average and getting on base at a 33% clip, he can be a good utility man to help defensively at multiple infield positions or simply lock down third base if DJ struggles. Urshela has played 4,620.1 innings at third base in his career, logging a .967 field percentage, including 10 defensive runs saved collectively. He posted six defensive runs saved last season over 270 innings, an impressive mark considering the innings limit.

Coming off a major injury, Gio shouldn’t cost much for the Yankees to acquire if they want him to occupy a roster spot. At the very least, having him compete during spring training would be fine, since the upside there is undoubtedly worthwhile exploring.