If I Were The GM: My Choices for Third Base and Catcher
by Paul Semendinger
November 21, 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.
Previous Articles in this Series:
To build my 2022 Yankees starting line up, I have signed Freddie Story and Trevor Story. I also traded Gleyber Torres for Ketel Marte.
The rest of the roster stays pretty much identical to the 2021 Yankees.
Ketel and Freeman give the Yankees a switch hitter and a lefty bat. (Against right handed pitchers, that’s two lefty bats.)
I brought in two players who will hit 25+ homers. I also have two players who will hit over .300.
I brought balance to the lineup and lengthened it as well. I brought more athleticism. I improved the defense. And I have brought in a player (Ketel Marte) who, along with D.J. LeMahieu and Joey Gallo can provide a great deal of positional flexibility. I’m liking what I have done.
My final two moves are “stay-put” moved.
Gio Urshela remains my third baseman. He’s also my initial back-up shortstop, as such, he also gives some flexibility. Do I think Urshela is great? No. But is he a solid player? Yes. Urshela will make the defensive plays at third. I also see him replicating his 2021 season offensively. How does .270 with 15 homers (and excellent defense) sound for the team’s #9 hitter in the lineup? It sounds pretty darn good to me.
This was an easy decision. Urshela can do the job well.
And he will.
Gary Sanchez remains my catcher. In my heart, I think it’s time for the Yankees to move on from Gary Sanchez. I think he needs a new home. I think he’d do much better in a new environment. I also believe, as I wrote a few weeks ago, that the fans (and the team) had expectations of Sanchez that were way too high. He looks worse in comparison to what everyone hoped he would be.
If there was a great or even good alternative to Gary Sanchez for this position, I’d consider it. I just don’t think there is. Also, on my 2022 Yankees, we won’t be asking much of Gary Sanchez. He’d be the #8 hitter.
With lower expectations, as a bottom-of-the-order bat, facing a pitcher who just went through a maelstrom of batters, might Gary Sanchez see some improvement in his own performance? I think it’s likely. I think Sanchez could hit .225 to .230 and hit 20 to 25 homers. Yes, his defense and lack of focus will drive everyone crazy, but, again there isn’t much out there that would be an improvement over what the Yankees already have.
Finally, this is Gary Sanchez’s walk year, possibly his big chance to have a big year before becoming a free agent. If this isn’t the year he puts it all together, it’ll never happen. I’m going to bank on him improving just enough to not be a liability on defense and that he’ll hit more than enough to make the Yankees glad they kept him.
With the moves I plan to make, I believe my 2022 Yankees will be primed for a successful championship run.
Take a look at this batting order (and some probable stats for 2022):
Ketel Marte – CF (.317, 11 HR)
D.J. LeMahieu – 2B (.275, 12 HR)
Aaron Judge – RF (.292, 39 HR)
Freddie Freeman – 1B (.325, 44 HR)
Giancarlo Stanton – DH (.282, 36 HR)
Trevor Story – SS (.262, 28 HR)
Joey Gallo – LF (..220, 42 HR)
Gary Sanchez – C (.225, 22 HR)
Gio Urshela – 3B (.270, 15 HR)
I’ll address the pitching in some future posts.