If I Were The GM: My Choice for Second Base
by Paul Semendinger
November 18, 2021
As the Hot Stove League starts to gear up and draw excitement, interest, and anticipation, I decided to share my thoughts (as I do each year) on who I would acquire for each position if I were the Yankees GM.
Today I’ll look at second base.
In regard to second base, it’s really a two-man race: D.J. LeMahieu or Gleyber Torres.
I’ll end the suspense quickly and announce D.J. LeMahieu as my choice here.
Here is why:
D.J. LeMahieu – It is no secret that I did not want the Yankees to retain LeMahieu after the 2020 season. I believe that the Yankees have seen his peak and that he will not be the player he was that made him a huge fan favorite by hitting .327 and .364 in his first two seasons as a Yankee. Those days are gone, not to return. But LeMahieu is still a very good defensive second baseman (if no longer elite) and he signed for many more years so I don’t see him having much trade value. LeMahieu will give the Yankees a .275 average with enough walks to provide a .350 on base percentage. He’ll hit about 12 to 15 homers and be a solid contributor. One thing is certain, he’ll give his best every single game. I also think LeMahieu will do better knowing that he’s playing his natural position and not being moved all over the place. Finally, a bloop hit here and there and the .275 average could approach .300. The key for the 2022 Yankees is that D.J. LeMahieu should not be the leadoff hitter. As a #2 hitter, he would be a much better fit.
LeMahieu is also more versatile than Gleyber Torres since he can play first base and third base if necessary. If I am building a team, I want lots of players who can play multiple positions well. LeMahieu fits that requirement. Gleyber Torres doesn’t.
LeMahieu’s most value, though, will come as a second baseman. That’s where he needs to play.
Gleyber Torres – Yes, he’ll only be 25-years-old next season. Yes, he has a ton of potential. Yes, he might be able to be a star or elite player for a long, long, long time. I feel the Yankees made a mistake when they resigned D.J. LeMahieu because that forced Gleyber Torres to shortstop when he should have been the second baseman all along.
After showing what made him such a prized prospect his first two years, Gleyber Torres has suffered through two disappointing seasons. On top of this, there were times when he didn’t hustle. It’s a bad look. I hoped for Gleyber to be the next great Yankee, but I don’t think that will now happen.
As such, since he’s still so young, since he still has a world of talent, and since he won’t be a free agent until 2025, Gleyber Torres has a lot of trade value for the Yankees. Of all the players at the big league level, Gleyber Torres has the most value. The Yankees will need to cash in on his value to acquire a needed piece, whether that be Matt Olson, a starting pitcher, or my choice for centerfield (who will be announced in an upcoming post).
As I see it, by signing D.J. LeMahieu, the Yankees have basically closed the door for Gleyber Torres. If I were the GM, the best way to maximize Gleyber Torres’ value is to trade him for another necessary piece. A team does not need two second basemen.
Of note, Tyler Wade will serve as the primary back-up.