There’s one conclusion we can come to with the New York Yankees and their link to Francisco Lindor, star shortstop for the Cleveland Indians. The Yankees simply can’t afford to acquire Lindor and re-sign DJ LeMahieu, which poses a good problem to have.
Of course, retaining LeMahieu should be the priority given his fantastic past two seasons in pinstripes — he has earned the right to an extension and a sizable contract.
He previously joined the Yankees on a two-year, $24 million deal — DJ won the batting title this past season and has been a godsend in the infield, moving to several positions and filling spots when called upon. LeMahieu acts as the every day second baseman when he’s not filling in for injuries or playing first base to close out games.
However, with Gleyber Torres failing to hold down the shortstop position, the Yankees might have their hand forced. They could allocate money toward Didi Gregorius or trade for a lesser player, but Lindor is the cream of the crop when it comes to filling that need. While they are so confident Torres can develop into an adequate defender, he fails to complete routine plays far too often, making him a liability.
How are the New York Yankees land the door in the first place?
The key to any trade this off-season will be Miguel Andujar, whom the Yankees have fallen out of love with after a shoulder injury that derailed his 2019 season before it even began. After Andujar’s fantastic 2018 campaign, where he hit .297 with 48 doubles and 27 homers, his value was at an all-time high.
With Andujar failing the left-field experiment this past season, the Yankees are hoping to move him for starting pitching or package them together in a bigger deal. He would be essential in a Lindor trade, but I don’t believe the rumors will hold true this time around.
Finding and targeting a quality starting pitcher they can trade a prospect and Andujar for might be more beneficial. If they retain LeMahieu, they will have their infield set, even if Torres is a bit problematic at shortstop.
Landing a number two pitcher behind Gerrit Cole should be the primary focus, and while Andujar only hit .242 with one homer and five RBIs this past season, he only experienced 65 plate appearances, not enough to justify reducing his value exponentially.
In 2018, he earned 606 plate appearances, which is a far greater value, and had a 22.4 batting and base running combined above-average score. While his value has certainly dropped off due to a lack of reps and injuries, he would still be a focal point in a trade for his offensive capabilities.
There will be a team out there that sees him as a potential solution at a defensive spot and are willing to invest the time to develop him. At 25 years old, he has a long way to go and whatever team acquires him has five more years of control.