10 Positions in 10 Weeks: Analyzing Second Base
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In Part 3 of a 10-week series, I take a look at the interesting situation the Yankees are in when it comes to who their second baseman could be for 2021 and beyond. It may be tougher to decide than you make think.
The New York Yankees signed D.J. LeMahieu before the 2019 season with the intentions of using him as a utility player that would see a good amount of playing time, but would not be the everyday starter. Little did many know he would eventually become the best hitter on the Yankees and all of baseball in terms of average.
When it comes to fielding, LeMahieu is one of the best out there too. He’s a three-time Gold Glove winner and has shown that he can play multiple positions in the infield besides second base. 30 teams would love to have LeMahieu, but only one can have the honors.
This leaves the Yankees in a sticky situation. He is currently a free agent and can sign with whoever he pleases and could command a contract with a high AAV. So let’s go through a few scenarios on what could happen if he were to re-sign or if he doesn’t.
If LeMahieu decides to re-sign with the Yankees there is a good chance that he will be the second baseman for the next few years, so they will have that position locked up. But they could also make a couple of other infield shifts.
Gleyber Torres has been a talking point about his possible shift back to second base. It is a possibility that Torres could go back to second base, which would most likely push LeMahieu to first. This could also happen if LeMahieu walks in free agency.
Let’s say Torres moves back to second base because LeMahieu walks in free agency. This will leave the shortstop position open, simply because management is not going to have faith in a combination of Tyler Wade and Thairo Estrada to play every day. A trade for a big shortstop or even a free agency signing could solve that problem.
If Brian Cashman gets someone in free agency it will not be a big contract, as rumors have circulated that Hal Steinbrenner is trying to stay under the threshold this season. But that’s for next week.
Another possible scenario involves Torres staying at shortstop and Wade and Estrada split time between second base. While this does not seem like a terrible idea, it is not the smart thing to do. Both of these hitters have demonstrated some potential, but there is no consistency amongst them, simply because they’re not playing every day.
LeMahieu is the most valuable position player on the Yankees. He is one of the few that does not look to hit a home run every time he steps up to the plate but just decides to make contact and work counts. It would be a true loss to see him go, especially since he has become a fan favorite. In a sense, he is like Derek Jeter. The Yankees cannot simply let him walk.
Is he worthy of a big payday? Absolutely.
Is he going to get it? Yes
Is he going to get it from the Yankees? It’s tough to say. Let’s hope they can work out a deal, even if that includes just throwing his a Qualifying Offer.