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  • Ethan Semendinger

Should They Stay or Go? (INF 2 of 2)

The Yankees have a lot of decisions to make this offseason, one could say there's bound to a "clash" of opinions. Let's talk about it.

 

Today I will be discussing some of the Yankees infielders


Gleyber Torres

2022 Statistics: 140 Games, .257/.310/.451/.761 (114 OPS+), 135 Hits, 24 Home Runs, 76 RBI's, 39 BB's, 129 K's, +9 DRS, -2.0 Def, +4.1 bWAR/+2.7 fWAR

Contract Status: Heading into Arbitration 3; Under Contract through 2024

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Gleyber Torres is a fine baseball player. Maybe I'm being a bit harsh after he posted one of the two best seasons in his career, but I can't seem to ever feel comfortable with him at the plate or in the field. He's a very streaky hitter who ebbs and flows between 3 states of hitting. First, he'll try too hard be a power hitter, which leads to poor plate discipline and a lack of offense. Then, because of this he'll have to rework his swing and go through a little slump. After that he'll start to hit the ball well for a few weeks which then leads him to want to try and hit home runs again. Thus, we repeat the cycle.


I want so badly to like having Gleyber on the team. He's a fine baseball player. Arguably, based on players under contract with the Yankees in 2023, he's set to be one of the better players on the team next year (especially when Anthony Rizzo opts out). But, I don't think that is a role where Gleyber succeeds. I think he's a player who needs other great players around him to be good. In 2022 he had Aaron Judge take the spotlight. In 2019 (his other great season) it was DJ LeMahieu hitting .327 and Brett Gardner popping nearly 30 home runs.


A former top prospect, he's failed to live up to the expectations as a perennial All-Star shortstop. His defense is fine for second base, but even there he is blocking a superior hitter and defender in DJ LeMahieu from playing at his best position. Still, he's going into his age-26 season, so right now is when his profile should start a great peak. He's a hard player to know what to do with.


The Verdict: Gleyber Torres is a perfect candidate to be traded this offseason, much like Gary Sanchez last offseason (though hopefully in a better deal). His time in New York is likely growing short and the patience that many fans have with him has been running thin. Arguably, Torres does not have much trade value as a late-arbitration player with moderate performance so far in his career, but it should be noted the Marlins were interested in him at the trade deadline. If I ran the team, I'd start calling up Kim Ng to see what she thinks about trading for Torres.

 

DJ LeMahieu

2022 Statistics: 125 Games, .261/.357/.377/.734 (111 OPS+), 122 Hits, 12 Home Runs, 46 RBI's, 67 BB's, 71 K's, +9 DRS, +4.9 Def, +3.9 bWAR/+3.0 fWAR

Contract Status: Has 4-Years/$60 Million Remaining on Contract through 2026

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The Yankees have one big decision to make this offseason. They have to determine if Aaron Judge is worthy of a massive contract or not. They faced the same situation two years ago and are seeing the results in DJ LeMahieu.


After posting his best full season in baseball in 2019 and then posting his best "season" in 2020 on both ends of a 2-year deal with the Yankees, the team resigned and awarded LeMahieu a 6-year/$90 Million extension from his age 33-38 seasons. The Yankees bought high on a player who posted a .336 batting average with 36 home runs in 2019 & 2020 and have so far have gotten back a player who has hit to a .265 batting average with 22 home runs. DJ was never going to continue what he was doing and it quickly has shown that this was not a great contract for the Yankees to make.


Now, I love DJ LeMahieu. I wanted him to be a Yankee for years before he became one and was shocked at what we all saw in 2019. He first came onto my radar after winning the gold glove in 2014 and from then on I had these great dreams of Arenado and LeMahieu in the Yankees infield. DJ is a fine player now. He'll continue to play good defense and hit well enough, but the Yankees bought in high and are losing on his contract.


The Verdict: Part of the reason I want to trade Gleyber is to give DJ the second base job going forward. Allow him to play where he is best until the next wave of infielders comes up. Then, DJ can play a complimentary role as the everyday sub between third, second, and first again. I'm not a big fan of constantly moving around a player who is at the end of their peak, but DJ is here to stay.

 

Oswald Peraza

2022 Statistics: 18 Games, .309/.404/.429/.832 (139 OPS+), 12 Hits, 1 Home Run, 2 RBI's, 6 BB's, 9 K's, 0 DRS, -0.1 Def, +0.6 bWAR/+0.4 fWAR

Contract Status: Still has Rookie Eligibility; Under Contract through at least 2028

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Oswald Peraza is the first piece of the Yankees latest attempt to sell fans on "the future" of the team with the likes of Anthony Volpe, Trey Sweeney, Austin Wells, and Jasson Dominguez hopefully all to follow in the coming year or two to the MLB team. My only problem with this approach is that we heard the same thing of Aaron Judge (who is the anomaly), Gary Sanchez, Luis Severino, Gleyber Torres, and Clint "Jackson" Frazier. Of the later group just 1 of them (Judge) has become a true standalone player and the of the other 4: Gary Sanchez was traded away for pennies on the dollar, Luis Severino hasn't had a healthy season since 2018, Gleyber Torres is still really without a position or place on the team, and Clint Frazier is out of baseball. The Yankees track record here does not leave me with a lot of confidence.


However, I willingly go along with the Yankees narrative time and time again and do want to believe in Peraza. He should've been up with the major league team much earlier in the season for the Yankees to see if they had an in-house option to replace IKF at shortstop. Instead, Peraza had inconsistent playing time, was completely left off the ALDS roster, and then became a starting shortstop in the ALCS? Gosh, the Yankees organization is a mess.


The Verdict: The potential is there for Peraza. How he hits is the biggest question mark for him in 2023 as the glove should play at shortstop but he has a lot of other talent (IKF, Volpe, Sweeney) looking to take the shortstop position that should be his to start 2023.

 

Matt Carpenter

2022 Statistics: 47 Games, .305/.412/.727/1.138 (217 OPS+), 39 Hits, 15 Home Runs, 37 RBI's, 19 BB's, 35 K's, 0 DRS, -2.5 Def, +2.4 bWAR/+2.3 fWAR

Contract Status: Set to become a Free Agent

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Ask yourself these questions: Should a player up for contract be evaluated over 47 games? Should a player entering his age 37 season be signed to a contract? Should a player who can't play the field, and who hit under a 100 OPS+ and had a combined .203 batting average from 2019 to 2021 be considered for a team?


The answers are obviously 'no', 'maybe', and 'no'.


Matt Carpenter had an incredible stretch in 2022 after going through a late career "journey to find himself" in the offseason and minor leagues, but his story was cut short by injury and it all but killed off his vibe when he came back in the postseason. I give him a lot of credit for what he did, but he has no place on the Yankees in 2023. He can't play in the outfield or infield and the DH spot is firmly held by Giancarlo Stanton. Unless he wants to be a Daryll Strawberry left-handed bat off the bench, but even then I could see a borderline team taking a chance on him as their DH going into the season and as trade bait if the team isn't in postseason contention.


The Verdict: If I ran the Yankees, I'd call Matt Carpenter into my office, shake his hand, thank him for his performance and presence in the clubhouse, and wish him all the best. The Yankees are not and should not be in the business of signing old players off fluke 47 game stretches. He was great. But, the fairytale is over.

 

Marwin Gonzalez

2022 Statistics: 85 Games, .185/.255/.321/.576 (64 OPS+), 34 Hits, 6 Home Runs, 18 RBI's, 14 BB's, 54 K's, +11 DRS, +3.1 Def, +0.8 bWAR/+0.0 fWAR

Contract Status: Set to become a Free Agent

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How this man was ever allowed to become a Yankee is beyond me. His only good season in the MLB was in 2017 while he was playing with the Houston Astros...


I think that says it all.


The Verdict: Marwin Gonzalez will go down in Yankees fans memories as a mistake akin to when they signed Kevin Youkilis in 2013. When they brought him in I lost faith in the front office. To remedy the situation, I can only hope they avoid ever bringing in another player from that team again. No Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, George Springer, Alex Bregman, Yuli Gurriel, or any of them. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me for supporting this team. Don't do it again.






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