New York Yankees Analysis: Four Yankees must prove themselves in 2021 or they may be gone

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez

This whole article on the New York Yankees goes on the premise that the Yankees will not make any surprising blockbuster moves, such as making moves that include pitching star Trevor Bauer, J.T. Realmuto, or securing Francisco Lindor’s services. With the extreme amount of money the Yankees lost last year and the cloudy future ahead, it is a relatively safe bet they will not be spending big. They are more likely to make minor tweaks to the existing staff.

If this scenario holds true, four New York Yankees will be in the spotlight this upcoming season. If they don’t perform, quite frankly, their days in Yankee pinstripes might be over. Those players are Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, and Domingo German. I have to remind you that this is very young in the offseason, and many changes could affect these players’ outcomes.

Gary Sanchez:

The  New York Yankees and its fans have really soured on catcher Gary Sanchez even his most ardent supporters. He got so bad last season that he was actually sat down at times toward the end of the season and in most of the postseason, in favor of backup catch Kyle Higashioka. When your backup catcher is trusted more than your starting catcher, that isn’t good.

It appears, regardless of trade rumors, is that Gary Sanchez will be around in some form next season. But, if he doesn’t improve, he could be on some other team for 2022. He must prove this season that he can stay healthy in a 162 games season, improve his defense, and strike out less and become more of a contact hitter that does’ constantly chase pitches out of the zone. It is very likely that in 2021 he will find himself platooned more often with Kyle Higashioka making finding his stride even more difficult. It is good to see him playing winter ball in the Dominican; hopefully, he can improve by doing this.  The bottom line here is that the Yankees can’t have a player that hits .147 taking up room in the lineup.

Aaron Judge:

Aaron Judge is on this list for a far different reason, but it is just as concerning. Judge has immense talent that is unquestioned. The problem with Judge is that that talent is totally wasted if he can’t stay on the field; it is purely potential going unrealized. With Judge due to make some serious money, he will have to have two seasons where he remains relatively healthy to have any chance of a long-term contract. If he doesn’t, he might find himself on the chopping block.

Judge started the year at a torrid rate hitting an amazing nine home runs in just seventeen games and, at one point, a home run in six straight games for the New York Yankees. But then the injury bug that has dogged him throughout his career hit, with a calf strain. Upon his return, he injured it again, allowing him to play in less than half the games in this coronavirus shortened season. When Judge returned, he never hit another home run in the remainder of the regular season, again not allowing him to show his real worth as a Yankee superstar.

Gleyber Torres:

First, Torres most likely has fewer chances of being cut from the New York Yankees due to his young age, talent, and ability to improve. Nevertheless, he must improve. Whether he remains at short or is moved to second base, he must improve his defense. And after a very sub-par season at the plate, he must also show the Yankees he can hit again.

Torres had a far from a stellar season at short. At one point in the season, he had the most errors in baseball. After a season and a half at the position, the Yankees realize that he may not get better and have to find a way to keep the potential Yankee star in the lineup. In 2019 he had the most home runs (38) of any Yankee. He didn’t play all that well at the plate either this past season, but that is likely more of a blip in the young man’s career that he will hopefully recover from. If he doesn’t fix either of these areas, he may not be as lucky as Sanchez, who continued to receive the support that is now lacking, which may not be extended to Torres.

Domingo German:

German is still another situation. German made a horrible decision to slap his wife in public and get suspended for 81 games. Owner and Chief Operating Officer Hal Steinbrenner has already made it clear that he has to show that he is a changed man before he will be allowed to return. To make his way back to the Yankees, German impresses greatly while playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic. He has pitched nine innings, only giving up one run in his first two games while striking out eight.

If indeed the Yankees do take him back and surely need to help solve the Yankees pitching woes, he must perform. In 2019 he was the Yankees winningness pitcher going 18-4. The Yankees certainly could have used that this past season. If he can come close to that, he may be on the team for years to come. He is a free agent after the 2024 season. If he doesn’t perform as expected, the Yankees considering his moral baggage, may not be worth keeping him around.

The bottom line in all of this is that these New York Yankee players must improve in 2021. With Gary Sanchez, it is hard to see how he will improve after three seasons with no improvement. Torres has hope, and with Judge, much of it is out of his control; he must stay on the field. If the majority of these players can’t improve or even get worse, the Yankees may find themselves in a complete rebuild, further distancing them from another World Series win.

 

 

New York Yankees: I batted .400 on my 2020 season projections, a look back

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, Giancarlo Stanton

About a week before the New York Yankees 2020 shortened season started, I made my annual top 10 predictions for the upcoming season. Writers seldom look back at those mostly failed predictions not to embarrass themselves because making predictions is a risky business, kind of like guessing what the weather will be a month from today. Well, as it turned out, I batted .400, which isn’t very good unless you’re a baseball player. Anyway, today I have my big boy pants on and will discuss where I went wrong.

10.  Gary Sanchez will be second in home runs!

Gary Sanchez with fight Giancarlo Stanton for the second-most home runs in the season.  His defense behind the plate will again improve, showing the results of his work with new pitching coach Tanner Swanson.  Sanchez may have his first injury-free season, mostly due to the shortened season. He will catch in just 40 games with Kyle Higashioka will be catching in the remaining games.  With Stanton and Sanchez, who wins the title of 2nd most home runs, will rest on who can stay injury-free.

I eked out a win on this one. He did come in second in home runs, tied with DJ LeMahieu, with 10 apiece. Luke Voit has the most at 22 to lead baseball. Other than his home runs, he had a pretty miserable season, eventually losing out to Kyle Higashioka, who became Gerrit Cole’s personal catcher. Late in the season, Sanchez was often sat, including in the postseason.

9.  DJ LeMahieu will be good, but not as good!

DJ LeMahieu, after a slow start, will have a good season, being on base frequently.  His defense will be MVP-like, but his time behind the plate will not be as effective.  His slow start may be due to not starting on time and remaining somewhat weak early on due to his coronavirus infection.  His last 30 games will be better than his first 30. Instead of his .327 leading batting average, he will end up the season in the .280’s.

Boy, was I wrong on this one? Rather than being good, he was even better in the 2020 season. His excellent defense had him playing at all three infield bases. He finished the season an MVP candidate with another Silver Slugger Award and winning the baseball batting title, the first player to do that in both leagues.

8. Clint Frazier will shine in his first full season!

A more mature Clint Frazier will finally prove to the Yankees that he is worth having on the team.  He will show his determination by fighting through a season with a foot ailment.  His improved fielding will be needed this season, and his quick bat will make him a DJ LeMahieu-like player for the Yankees in this short season.

This one I got correct. Although he didn’t play at the beginning of the season, when he did, he proved to manager Aaron Boone that he had the stuff to be an excellent player for the Yankees. He did mature and, at times, dazzled Yankee fans with his much-improved defense.

7. Does Giancarlo Stanton return to the player he was in 2017?

Giancarlo Stanton will have a relatively healthy season with the Yankees. He will show signs of the type of player that got him the MVP Award with the Marlins in 2017.  Although he will not top the team in home runs, he will have fewer strikeouts and be more productive.  If he stays healthy, he could be second in home runs.

I’m counting this one as wrong, although some of it is true. We will never know as he again had injuries keeping him out of the lineup, although he did come on strong in the waning days of the season and postseason.

6. Gerrit Cole will not lose a 2020 game!

After going 20-5 with the Houston Astros, Gerrit Cole will again shine for the New York Yankees.  Although he will not lose a game, he will have two or three no-decisions in his ten or eleven starts in the short season.  The Yankee’s excellent bullpen will keep him from losing games.  In the postseason, he will pitch to the greatness of the Yankee’s Andy Pettitte. I want to add that Justin Verlander will not replicate his 2019 and that Cole will win the Cy Young Award. He has come in 4th and 5th, last year, 2nd in the voting.  This year he will win it as New York Yankee.

I guess this one was wishful thinking. At the time, his 2019 season made my projection a possibility. Although he pitched well, he seemed to struggle at times. Proving that he is a workhorse, he pitched more innings than any other Yankee pitcher. But he was far back in the Cy Young voting.

5. Gio Urshela will show 2019 was no fluke.

2019 was a break-out season for the man at the hot corner that replaced the injured Miguel Andujar, that underwent shoulder surgery. He made Gold Glove after Gold Glove catches at 3rd.  He surprised the team with his better than expected play behind the plate. Although he may not make his 2019 batting average of .314, he will nevertheless prove his worth behind the plate and the hot corner.

I won on this one; Gio was the same Gio as in his breakout season. He cements his place at the hot corner and hit .298 on the season with 6 home runs.

4. Aaron Judge will again have an injury-shortened season.

Aaron Judge will have an average season that he will not get through without further injuries. Although he will be 4th in home runs for the team, he will lack playing time in the field, even though manager Aaron Boone will be protective of him.  His oversized body and musculature will surely hamper his season again.

This seemed like a fairly safe bet before the season started, and it came true. As it turned out, he played in fewer than half of the games. He got off to a torrid start hitting 9 home runs, but he never had another home run after rejoining the team.

3. The Yankees will win 48 games in the short-season.

After the New York Yankees won 100 and 103 games during the last two seasons, they will win 48 games this year.  The Yankees will dominate their traditional rivals in the east along with the Miami Marlins.  The few games they will lose will mostly be with the Nationals, Phillies, and the Atlanta Braves. The addition of Gerrit Cole will offset the loss of Domingo German and Luis Severino.

I was big-time wrong on this one, although some other writers were saying the Yankees would win even more games. Lengthy stretches of losses and the Tampa Bay Rays put that hope on the backburner.

2. Gleyber Torres will be the Yankees MVP.

Gleyber Torres, although taking on a new job this season as the Yankee shortstop, will shine again, topping his 2019 performance, and will lead the team again in home runs and doubles.  He will win the MVP for his performance behind the plate.  Although he will not be the best of shortstops, his efforts to be the best will turn out to be adequate.

Nope, the 2020 season will be one that Gleyber Torres will most likely want to forget. After leading the home runs in 2019, he came in 11th in a 9 man lineup. Add to that he came in second in errors at short.

1. The New York Yankees will win their 28th World Championship.

Before the coronavirus struck and the season was shut down, the New York Yankees were the odds on favorites to win the division and the World Series. The shortened season has not changed that; in fact, the shutdown allowed injured players to recover and be ready for play at the beginning of the season.  Although there will be injuries, they will not come close to eclipsing 2019.  The shortened season will cause fewer injuries.

This seemed like a reasonable projection at the time, the Yankees were favored to win it all, but they didn’t come close to that, after losing the East Division to the much better Tampa Bay Rays. They did beat the Cleveland Indians in the Wild Card Series, only to lose to the Rays in the ALCS.

I will probably be bold enough to tackle projections for the 2021 season as well. At the moment, it doesn’t look good for the New York Yankees. But we will have to see what they do to improve the team in their continual quest for that 28th World Championship.  The Yankees have won 27 of those championships, but we are quickly learning that the past is not a sign of the future.

Argument against the New York Yankees acquiring Francisco Lindor

New York yankees, Francisco Lindor

The New York Yankees have one of the best players in baseball at the top of their offseason wishlist. All-Star shortstop, Francisco Lindor, is on the trading block with the Cleveland Indians wanting to trim payroll before next season.

Lindor is one of the superstars of baseball. He’s incredible defensively, he’s a switch hitter who hits for average and power from both sides. On top of that, he’s got one of the most glowing personalities in all of baseball.

If you were going to build your team around anyone, Lindor would be a great option. Thus you can see the reason why the Yankees are so interested in Lindor. The Yankees are facing an interesting decision with their MVP contending second baseman, DJ LeMahieu.

The bombers would love to have LeMahieu back, but the fact that he’s in his early 30s give the Yankees pause on extending him long-term. Talk is that his agent is seeking a five year deal while the Yankees are wanting to stay in the three to four year range.

To complicate matters more, the bombers have a decision to make on Gleyber Torres. Torres is one of the young stars for the Yankees, however, last year proved that he might not be cut out to play shortstop at the major league level.

Torres looks much more comfortable at second base which is why the Yankees are kicking the tires on shortstops. I really would love for them to acquire Francisco Lindor, however, they should not overextend themselves to do it.

Argument against the Yankees making the deal

Everything I said above about Francisco Lindor is absolutely true. He’s a stud and if the Yankees acquired him and extended him long-term, I would be through the roof. However, they should tread very carefully here.

For one, Lindor is not a need at the moment. The bombers could easily bring back DJ LeMahieu and continue to work on Torres’ defense at shortstop. Maybe he can turn things around with time and more reps at the position.

This option would cost the Yankees nothing in terms of prospect capital. However, there is another big reason why the bombers should avoid going all out for Lindor in a trade this offseason.

That reason is that the market is flooded next year with All-Star shortstops. The list of shortstops available include: Lindor, Javier Baez, Carlos Correa, Trevor Story, and Corey Seager.

Anyone of those would be welcomed additions to the Bronx. I know the Yankees are in a win-now mode, however, that market next year is also reason for them to pause on giving LeMahieu his long-term deal.

The Yankees are looking to trim payroll this year. Cashman and the front office could take the position of looking to sign someone at shortstop like Andrelton Simmons or Didi Gregorious for one year to gap to the free agent class of next year where they have their pick of All-Stars.

Going this way would also not cost the Yankees anything but money. MLB Network was suggesting the Yankees trade Clint Frazier, Miguel Andujar, and two top pitching prospects to acquire Lindor.

I love Franky Smiles, but with the market of 2022 and LeMahieu out there, I wouldn’t do that deal. Cashman definitely should be in on the talks for Lindor, but if the tag is too steep, it’s perfectly fine to walk away from the table.

New York Yankees News/Rumors: Yankees will not dig deep for Lindor, Frazier will be in pinstripes

New York Yankees, Francisco Lindor

The New York Yankees have much to fix this offseason, primarily to their pitching staff, as at the moment, they only have a staff led by new pitching ace Gerrit Cole followed by Jordan Montgomery, that’s it. Of course, waiting in the wings, they do have Deivi Garcia, who made his major league debut at the end of last season. While the pitching rotation is causing all the speculation, there are other fish to fry for the Yankees: What to do with their starting catcher Gary Sanchez and how to fix the shortstop problem.

Probably for the duration of the offseason, at least for much of it, the major trade for the Yankees will be swirling around. That trade would put the Cleveland Indian’s star shortstop Francisco Lindor at short at Yankee Stadium. Many sportswriters believe at some point that that trade will happen between the Indians and Yankees. This writer does not believe that trade will ever happen.

Let’s take a close look at the situation. Yes, Gleyber Torres had a deficient first full year as the New York Yankees shortstop. The Yankees would surely like to upgrade that position. But at what cost? Francisco Lindor is an annual MVP player at short. That is not a question. But this writer believes that the cost to the Yankees will be too high for short term gain. Also, I believe it would cause as many problems as it solves.

Stumbling block number one is that any trade for Lindor would most certainly include the Yankees losing the rising star Clint Frazier, who could be the next big All-Star for years to come. MLB.com believes it would take Frazier, Miguel Andujar, Luis Gil, and possibly another prospect to put Lindor into pinstripes. That is a cost that general manager Brian Cashman would have to think long and hard at. In the end, I feel he will realize the short term gain is not worth giving up a player that may evolve into the biggest star the Yankees have had in years.

One must remember that Francisco Lindor will become a free agent after the 2021 season. At that point, Lindor will surely and rightly so, want a multi-hundred thousand dollar contract. That would put the Yankees in a position to spend much more than they will want to spend for a shortstop. So, most likely, they would end up having him at short for only one year.

Stumbling block number two is that if they get Lindor and become a free agent and lose him after just one year, they have the same position to fill again. Plus, if they do acquire Lindor, they will most likely move Gleyber Torres to his natural position at second base. If they do that, and most think they would, then what do they do with DJ LeMahieu, who they surely will try and maybe even overpay to have him remain with the Yankees.

Should the New York Yankees re-sign LeMahieu, which most experts believe they will, would surely put him at first base, displacing the 2020 home run leader Luke Voit. That move would leave Voit with no place to play, the same fate the Miguel Andujar is suffering from. Would general manager Cashman try to put a deal together that would include Voit and not Frazier? That’s a good question, but would the Indians accept that deal? Probably not.

The bottom line for the New York Yankees is that any trade for Francisco Lindor will be just too costly and complicated to complete. If they can’t sign LeMahieu but do make a trade for Lindor, they will be switching players and getting the short end of the deal. Brian Cashman will not make this trade, and Frazier will remain in pinstripes for years to come.

One New York Yankees player, Luke Voit, is traveling on some pretty thin ice, as he could be affected by a trade for Lindor, had this to say to Newsday:

“I think he’s a great fit with us,” Voit said (h/t Newsday’s Anthony Rieber). “I know he wants to be in New York. I’m sure every team wants him. He’s a stud. There’s a reason he finished top three in MVP voting, even though I thought he deserved to win it. I think he’s going to have a bunch of big-time offers, but I know he wants to win. I know he loves the guys in the clubhouse and loves the coaching staff and he wants to play in New York. I guess we’ll see, but my gut says he’s going to be a Yankee.”

Luke, if that comes true, you may have just bought your ticket out of Yankee Stadium. Although I am sure this will be sitting atop the hot stove for most of the offseason, the Yankees will feel acquiring Francisco is just not worth the cost.

EmpireSportsMedia.com’s Columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research. Follow me on Twitter @parleewilliam.

 

 

 

New York Yankees Analysis: Are the New York Mets heating up, the Yankees, or Gleyber Torres?

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

The New York Yankees have been looking for a way to move Gleyber Torres back to second base. It is no secret that the Yankees are not happy with Torres at short. They are actively looking for a replacement. But in this cash strapped offseason don’t look for the Yankees to spend big on that void, it’s not likely you will see Francisco Lindor in pinstripes. A few days ago I offered a possible replacement in Andrelton Simmons. Now John Heyman has reported that the Yankees are indeed interested in Simmons.

“They are looking at the other guys that are out there,” John Heyman of MLB.com said. “They’ve contacted Andrelton Simmons, that’s a guy they’ve liked for a long time. … They’ve tried for Simmons before, they looked at him at the [2020 Trade] Deadline, so that’s a possibility. And, of course, with Didi Gregorius, who’s a free agent now. He was their guy and they liked him very much. He did a good job for them and did a good job for Philly, so that’s another consideration.

Is there some surprising news coming soon?  You never know, but Gleyber Torres has been making some noise. The Yankees have been somewhat overshadowed by the purchase of the New York Mets by its new owner Steve Cohen. Cohen had his introductory Zoon news conference talking about all the great things that the Mets are going to be doing. Surprisingly during that new conference, Gleyer Torres Tweeted this:👀

🍿

😴

We love the cryptic nature of this tweet, Gleyber Torres, but we need some answers as to what it means. Is it about the Mets, is it about Fracisco Lindor, DJ LeMahieu? Who knows but the timing of the Tweet is interesting in the middle of Cohen’s new conference. Is Torres hinting something. Recently Alex Cora did a similar tweet and the next day he was the new Red Sox manager.
Another interesting thing out of Cohen’s take over of the Mets, is that he indicated by tweet that he is not going to be in competetion with the Yankees this offseason, saying: “we are the Mets, we will create our own excitement.”
One thing is for sure this is going to be a very interesting offseason.

 

Francisco Lindor at the top of the wishlist for the New York Yankees

New York Yankees, Francisco Lindor

This week it was reported that Indians All-Star shortstop, Francisco Lindor, would likely be dealt this offseason. The New York Yankees have reportedly put Lindor at the top of their offseason wishlist per Dan Federico. 

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. The New York Yankees have a long-term need at shortstop. Of course, fans could say that Gleyber Torres is their shortstop, however, I think last season taught us that Torres isn’t a solution there long-term.

Lindor is one of baseball’s true superstars. Lindor is just getting ready to turn 27 years old. He’s one of the best defensive shortstops in the game, he’s a switch hitter, and he’s got power from both sides. Not too mention he hits for average.

Lindor has one year left before he hits free agency. One would have to imagine that if the Yankees could pull off a trade for the superstar, they would likely immediately work on an extension. Just like the Dodgers did with Mookie Betts last year.

What should the Yankees do?

If the Yankees were to pull off a deal for Lindor, it would likely mean the end of the Yankees tenure for DJ LeMahieu. The Machine has been the backbone of the Yankees for the last couple of years and for the second straight year, he will finish near the top of the MVP race.

LeMahieu can play all around the infield at a gold glove level. However, it’s been his consistency at the plate that has been where he’s really shined. LeMahieu is a free agent, and the Yankees have been having dialogue around an extension.

However, it’s worth noting that LeMahieu is going to be turning 33 years old during the year next year. That might give the Yankees some pause in offering him a big contract. We’ve seen the Yankees baulk at signing guys in their 30s despite their superstar team status (Robinson Cano).

Federico reported that the Yankees won’t overextend to get Lindor despite him being at the top of their wishlist. However, should they reconsider that position? Lindor is truly one of the best players in baseball and he’s going to be for a very long time.

Imagine building the Yankees future around an infield that includes Gleyber Torres at second and Francisco Lindor at shortstop. I understand I’m in the minority, but if I could pick between LeMahieu or Lindor, I’m going with Lindor. I mean just think you’d have Lindor for nearly six years before he reaches LeMahieu’s age.

Realistically, I don’t believe that the Yankees will do what it takes to pull off the Lindor deal. I think the bombers are going to end up brining back LeMahieu and that’s a great thing. I just think they should strongly consider what Lindor could mean for the Yankees over the next ten years.

New York Yankees News/Rumors: The Gleyber Torres debacle and how the Yankees may fix it

The New York Yankees, after losing in the postseason again, have a bevy of issues to solve going into a long cold winter offseason. The main one is its pitching rotation. With the return of Luis Severino before the All-Star break and the potential return of Domingo German, the problem of losing Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, and J.A. Happ, the problem may not be as bad as it seems, but don’t get fooled; it is a problem.

The Yankees offered no qualifying offers to any of the free-agent pitchers. But the money is on the return of Masahiro Tanaka if Tanaka is willing to take a shorter contract and one that is deeply discounted from what he earned this year. That leaves their big-money pitcher, Gerrit Cole, Tanaka, and Jordan Montgomery.  Obviously, they have two holes to fill. Right or wrong, it seems the Yankees will plug in Deivi Garcia as the only prospect they feel that is comfortably ready to take the big stage at Yankee Stadium.

So, the reality is that the New York Yankees need an additional premium arm for the rotation. If the Yankees are willing to spend big in this cash short offseason, they will go after a Corey Kluber or Charlie Morton type pitcher. Trevor Bauer would be the perfect match for Yankees Stadium, but it is doubtful they will spend for Bauer.

A somewhat less important issue to solve is what to do with Gleyber Torres at shortstop. Torres had a far from a stellar season at short. At one point in the season, he had the most errors in baseball. After a season and a half at the position, the Yankees realize that he may not get better and have to find a way to keep the potential Yankee star in the lineup. In 2019 he had the most home runs (38) of any Yankee. He didn’t play all that well at the plate either this past season, but that is likely more of a blip in the young man’s career that he will surely recover from.

The Yankees believe to solve that problem, they need to move him back to his normal position at second base. To do that, they need to find a place for superstar DJ LeMahieu. That’s really not that hard to do because he is the same caliber player at first and third base. The only problem with that is Giancarlo Stanton is the permanent DH. What do you do with either 2020 home run leader Luke Voit or the second-best contact hitter in Gio Urshela?

This is why I have called this a debacle. There is no way easy way to solve the problem. I suggested even before the postseason that the Yankees convert DJ into a utility player that can give a day off to every infielder and act as a DH, keeping him in the lineup at least five days a week. The easy solution is if DJ wants more money than the Yankees want to pay him, and he walks; that’s a solution the Yankees surely don’t want.

Leaving that debacle behind for a moment, if the New York Yankees move Torres to second base, they now have no shortstop. The easy solution to that problem brings Francisco Lindor to the Stadium, he is the best shortstop in baseball today and would add a switch hitter to the lineup, but there is a cost, a huge cost, that the Yankees may not be willing to pay. Another option is to bring back Didi Gregorius, who had a bounceback season with the Phillies. With the remarks he has made during this past season, that is probably not a good idea, although he was a fan favorite.

There are more cost-effective options; Andrelton Simmons or Tommy La Stella. Simmons, a 31-year-old Curacao native, is an excellent shortstop free agent from the Los Angeles Angels. He is a solid player who hit .297 in 2020. He is not a home run hitter, but a contact hitter that might be attractive to the Yankees. Simmons is a four-time Gold Glover and a Platinum Glove Award winner.

Tommy LaStella is not the defender that Simmons is, but is an interesting replacement for Torres. His batting average was slightly less than Simmons, but unlike Simmons, he mixes his hits with home runs. He would also provide the Yankees with a left-hand bat at the plate they sorely need. He had a very good .819 OPS with the Athletics in 2020. He is also more versatile than Simmons as he is a second baseman as well.

This is going to be a long offseason that will most likely see changes for many teams, including the New York Yankees, happen later than soon, in what is expected to be a very slow but active hot stove.

New York Yankees’ alternatives to DJ LeMahieu

New York Yankees, DJ LeMahieu

The backbone of the New York Yankees the last couple of seasons has been DJ LeMahieu. LeMahieu has played gold glove defense wherever the team played him and he won the batting title this past season for the Yankees.

For the second consecutive season, LeMahieu will likely finish in the top four for the MVP vote. The 32 year old second baseman also just wrapped up his two year deal with the New York Yankees. He’s about to his free agency for the second time.

There will be plenty of suitors looking to pry LeMahieu away from the Yankees. However, you can expect the Yankees to do everything that they can to bring back LeMahieu. With a team that’s lacked consistency, he’s been the one consistent force they’ve had.

However, the fact that he will hit the open market should show you that it’s not a guarantee that the Yankees bring him back. I fully believe that they should, and I believe they will try, but I don’t expect them to do anything insane to bring back LeMahieu.

Not on the same level, but I’m reminded of the Robinson Cano situation. When Cano hit free agency, I would have bet my life savings he would retire a Yankee. However, Seattle offered him a deal that the Yankees were not comfortable matching. Thus, the marriage between the two sides ended.

What are the Yankees alternatives?

As I mentioned above, Plan A for the Yankees has to be resigning LeMahieu. However, I guarantee they’ve already been kicking the tires on potential replacements for their all-star second baseman. One place to look would be the AL Central.

The first possibility I’ll mention is the sexy move, however, the least likely. That would be the Yankees pulling off a deal for the Indians’ shortstop, Francisco Lindor. Lindor is entering the final year before free agency, and the Indians will likely make him available.

Lindor is one of the superstars of baseball. He’s a switch hitter with power, and he’s one of the best defensive shortstops in the game. Lindor turns 27 next month, and he could be a superstar for the Yankees for years to come assuming they extend him.

Doing this would also allow them to move Gleyber Torres back to second base. Torres struggled in his first season as a full-time shortstop. Many inside the organization have wondered if Torres can play that position moving forward.

The other alternative I’ll mention is calling up the Kansas City Royals about Whit Merrifield. Merrifield would be incredibly cheap financially, but he wouldn’t be cheap from a trade perspective. Merrifield has quietly been one of baseball’s best over the past couple of seasons.

Since breaking out with the Royals, Merrifield has been sensational. He can play virtually anyone on the field, and he led the majors in hits two of the last three years. In a way, he would remind fans a lot of DJ LeMahieu.

Trading for Lindor or Merrifield would cost the Yankees in prospects which is something Cashman is always hesitant to do. Again, the first priority should be trying to bring LeMahieu back. However, if the terms get crazy, there are quality alternatives out there for the bombers.

New York Yankee News/Rumors: Gleyber Torres on the path to Yankee stardom, what happened?

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

The New York Yankees have some problems losing in another postseason. One of those problems is Gleyber Torres at shortstop. There is no question that Gleyber Torres is deficient at short. But, what many miss is that Gleyber Torres never asked to follow in the footsteps of Derek Jeter. Being a team player, Torres agreed to play at short when the New York Yankees failed to bring back free agent Didi Gregorius.

Torres’s natural position is at second base, where he is not great but much better than he is at shortstop. Torres is young, very young, and has many years to grow into the Hall of Fame player many thought he would be. There is also no question that he hit a bump in the road this year when he failed at short and couldn’t seem to hit the ball. Well into the season, he was hitting at least 50 points below what he did in 2019. For those that have forgotten, Torres hit a team-high 39 homers in 2019.

In a year that saw many players not play to their potential, the Torres haters have to give him a break. Torres is a talented player for sure and was thrust into a position that was not natural to him. His poor play at short could also have affected his play at the plate. In the last days of the season in more particularly in the postseason, Torres showed the player that he can be. In the postseason he hit two home runs, that’s one less than he hit in the entire shortened regular season.

Gleyber Torres was born amongst the political strife, unrest, and violence of Caracas, Venezuela in a middle-class family headed by Eusebio Torres and his mother, Ibelise. He is 22 years old. Gleyber started playing baseball at the age of four. He started in his early years as an outfielder, but shortstop was more suited to his game. His love of the game was propelled by watching games on TV.

In high school, he played both basketball and baseball, but his father got him to concentrate on just baseball. Many thought he had the capabilities of becoming a professional. At age 14, he enrolled in an academy with strong connections to baseball scouts. Shortly after that, he was sought out by the Chicago Cubs, and he signed a contract with them.

Fast forward to the year 2019, Torres was experiencing his second year with the Yankees. He was an All-Star in 2018 and on his way to being an All-Star in 2019 as well. On June 29, 2019, he hit the 39th home run of his short career. On August 2nd, he hit his second Grand Slam. To end his 2019 campaign, he batted .278 and led the New York Yankees with 38 home runs with 90 runs batted in. In his two years in the majors, he has been a New York Yankees All-Star twice and has received an MVP nomination. He finished the 2019 campaign ending up with 62 home runs for his three-year career and 167 RBIs. He was a sure bet to have a Hall of Fame type career.

Fast forward again to the coronavirus shortened baseball season. Had all the 2019 magic disappeared from that new guy at short? Well, it appears there were certainly some struggles that he has suffered, from both behind the plate and at his new position. Before Torres went on the IL with both calf and hamstring strains, he led the league in errors at short and was hitting just .231 with only one home run and a measly six RBIs.

On August 21, Torres went on the 10 day IL. In Baltimore against the Orioles, Gleyber Torres returned to the Yankee lineup. He had three at-bats and managed a double in the game. Hopefully, that was a good sign for Torres. Torres in the Wild Card round hit an amazing home run with a .714 batting average in the postseason. In the ALDS, he hit another home run and batted .313.  One must keep in mind that the 24-year-old is still very young and has plenty of time to improve. One season does not make a career. This season may just be a blip in his journey to becoming a Yankee star.

He has the full backing of New York Yankee manager Aaron Boone. After a game in August when Torres made two errors, Boone had this to say: “I think he’s doing well overall. He’s had a couple of hiccups game-wise that kind of have dinged him statistically.”

If the New York Yankees can find a way to get Gleyber Torres back at his natural position, the pressure will be off him, and he might return to the player the New York Yankees hoped he would be.

 

 

New York Yankees: Gleyber Torres’s defense continues to hold him back

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

Since making his debut in 2018, Gleyber Torres of the New York Yankees has been one of the best hitting shortstops across the league. His first two seasons saw him spend time at both shortstop and second-base, as the team had Didi Gregorius through 2019. When Gregorius departed the team last off-season, Torres shifted to shortstop full-time.

However, in 312 career games played in the field, Torres has a -0.4 dWAR with -19 defensive runs saved. In simpler terms, he’s a less than stellar defender.

Fortunately for the Yankees, they have two stellar defenders next to Torres in the field in DJ LeMahieu and Gio Urshela. But, that doesn’t take away from the fact that Torres is a defensive liability.

Torres’s defense is the only thing holding him back from being the shortstop for years to come. With a career .271 batting average and an .834 OPS, he’s proven to be an elite hitter. But, the Yankees can’t afford to hide him at DH. That spot will be reserved for the injury-prone Giancarlo Stanton. They need him in the field.

The Yankees certainly aren’t going to be moving on from Stanton, but could shift the infield around a bit to accommodate his defense. He’s statistically been better at second-base, but still not great with -7 defensive runs saved. But if the Yankees put him at second while moving LeMahieu to first-base, their infield defense gets significantly better.

But the caveat with this is that it both moves Voit out of the first-base slot while creating an opening at shortstop. Rumors indicate a reunion with Didi Gregorius at shortstop might not be out of the question, but the team doesn’t want to move Luke Voit away from first-base. They would either have to move on from him, or make Stanton play the outfield to DH Voit.

The Yankees have a lot of different ways they could go with Gleyber Torres and his defense. To make things easiest, they simply just need Torres to improve his defense. Moving him around will create more confusion and possibly limit other players at-bats.

Torres’s offense has been great over his career, but he needs to fix his defense to help the Yankees the most and maximize his potential.