The Yankees have a log jam in the infield they need to sort out before Opening Day in late March. Ultimately, they could end up trading one of their infielders, notably Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Gleyber Torres make the most sense as potential departures.
IKF will likely lose the starting position battle at shortstop to Oswald Peraza, which would put him in a utility role. The problem is, the Bombers already have Oswaldo Cabrera playing multiple positions, meaning they can save the $6 million owed to IKF this upcoming season. Alternatively, Torres makes a ton of sense as a high-value target for other teams, considering he will only be a free agent in 2025 and has one year left of arbitration eligibility.
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The Yankees have assets they can move if need be:
Several teams have already suffered significant infield injuries, specifically the Colorado Rockies and Los Angeles Dodgers. Both teams could be in the mix to inquire about some of the available infielders the Yankees have, but they may be looking for younger prospects like Peraza rather than one-year stopgap solutions.
“Right now we are looking internally and then, if not, I might have a conversation with Cash at some point if we have anything [the Yankees] like,” Schmidt said.Per Joel Sherman of the NY Post.
At the very least, Kiner-Falefa can offer a starting-level player, and while he does have trouble fielding routine ground-balls occasionally, he puts the ball in play and has decent range. With the MLB banning the shift, rangy infielders are valuable, so the 27-year-old has tangible value.
Brian Cashman has already indicated that trade discussions are spurred due to injury, so the Yankees have valuable pieces they can leverage.
“You have an organization and you have injuries, and it increases you looking at your internal options and it spurs trade discussions,” Cashman said.
I wouldn’t expect the Bombers to make any premature moves ahead of Opening Day since injuries could arise in their own ranks. Waiting the next few weeks to see if anything pops up is a preferable move, negotiating with other teams in the process to determine what they’re willing to offer in exchange for starting-level infielders.
Saving the $6 million from IKF would not only open up a roster spot but also allow the Yankees to sign a left fielder potentially. The top remaining free agent is Jurickson Profar, and while he’s asking for a bit more than the Yankees are willing to dish out, he may lessen his price tag if he goes through spring without finding a new home.
Torres would save the team $10 million, but he is a bonafide starter, showcasing above-average defense in 2022 and starting his spring on a hot note. Preferably, the team may want to hold onto Gleyber until the deadline over the summer, leveraging him to supplement any potential weaknesses that present themselves during the season.