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  • Writer's pictureEthan Semendinger

Spring Training Invites: Second Base

As Pitchers and Catchers will report next week, let's spend this week looking at some final Spring Training invitee options:


Second Base Needs for 2023:

The New York Yankees are just about set when it comes to second base insurance for the 2023 season. At the major league level it should be expected that Gleyber Torres will man the position as the full-time starter while DJ LeMahieu- who had a positive injury update from Dillon Lawson just over a week ago (NY Post+; subs. req.)- will be the guy to fill in on the off days in his utility role. However, this doesn't include how the Yankees will also feature 3 more players currently slotted for the Opening Day roster in Oswald Peraza, Oswaldo Cabrera, and Isiah Kiner-Falefa who all could see some time at second base in the upcoming season. The focus on having players be multi-talented in recent years has helped make it that 5 players will be able to play the position at the MLB level.

Speaking of Peraza and Cabrera, if the Yankees also have another hot prospect for the middle infield in Anthony Volpe. Though he's listed as a shortstop, there are growing ideas that he should be moved to second base to allow Oswald Peraza to be the full-time shortstop as the better defensive player. At this time, I wouldn't put much stock into those ideas, though it should be noted that Volpe is yet another player to add to the depth chart.

Ultimately, there isn't a need for finding a pure second baseman in Spring Training. But, I'll never say no to a minor league deal. Here are a few targets I'd be interested in:


Rougned Odor:

2022 MLB Team: Baltimore Orioles

2022 MLB Stats: 135 Games, .207/.275/.357 (79 OPS+), 88 Hits, 13 HR, 53 RBI's, -0.4 bWAR

Experience: 9 MLB Seasons (2014-2022)

A former Yankee with a long history in the MLB, Odor has been bouncing around the MLB in recent years with 3 different stops in the last 3 years. Not counting 2020, Rougned Odor has played in 100+ games every year in his 9-year MLB career, with all but two of those being 120+ games. Teams should know exactly what to expect when bringing in Odor, as he is a full-time second baseman who is going to hit just above the Mendoza Line (or a .200 batting average) with 15-ish home run pop. He's also not a defensive help, though has been able to play the position without being a negative in the recent past.

This also always comes up when discussing Odor, but he's younger than most would believe. The "punch" was from back in 2016 when he was 22-years-old and he just recently turned 29 years old on February 3rd. There is also some promise coming for Odor in 2023, as he was shifted on for 93.8% of his plate appearances in 2022 and with the ban, that should help him recover some notoriety at the plate.

Should the Yankees target him? It's going to be a common theme, but not unless he's looking for a minor league/spring training invitation. Odor, while he was decently valuable with the Yankees in 2021, has produced to a net negative -0.9 bWAR since 2019. He's short for time left to crack an MLB opening day roster and he would immediately be on the bottom of the totem pole with the Yankees. At this point in his career, if I was Odor, I'd be looking to sign where I'd have the best shot to make the MLB in 2023. He is within 2 seasons of reaching 10 years of service time and is 98 hits away from 1,000. There's an outside shot he reaches both marks, but the Yankees would be one of the last teams to sign with if he wants that to happen.


Donovan Solano:

2022 MLB Team: Cincinnati Reds

2022 MLB Stats: 80 Games, .284/.339/.385 (97 OPS+), 79 Hits, 4 HR, 24 RBI's, +0.8 bWAR

Experience: 9 MLB Seasons (2012-2016; 2019-2022)

Somewhere in my brain I remembered that Donovan Solano was a member of the New York Yankees, which was back in 2016 for all of 9 games at the MLB level. At that time in his career, he was looking like a journeyman infielder, as the years following saw him spend all his time in the minor leagues. However, the San Francisco Giants needed him in 2019 and over the next few seasons, he was an above average hitter in limited playing time. The Cincinnati Reds bought in on this last year, and Solano was good for them, but not amazing.

Now, entering his age-35 season, it's hard to pinpoint what type of player he'll be going forward. Chances are he'll hit around .275 but showcase little to no power, along with a glove that won't impress nor hurt his team. He's the opposite Rougned Odor.

Should the Yankees target him? There isn't a fit here for either team or player as far as I see it. Worst comes to worst (for Solano) he is familiar with the Yankees farm system after being here in 2016 and 2017, but that was before he was a Silver Slugger winner (in 2020). There must be another system out there that could use his talents more, and that's for him and his agent to find. I can just say that it isn't likely with the Yankees.


Jonathan Villar:

2022 MLB Team: Chicago Cubs & Los Angeles Angels

2022 MLB Stats: 59 Games, .208/.260/.302 (59 OPS+), 42 Hits, 3 HR, 18 RBI's, -1.1 bWAR

Experience: 10 MLB Seasons (2013-2022)

Jonathan Villar was a prime "hidden gem" candidate after his very good end to the 2018 season with the Orioles. He produced in 2019 and had an amazing season while playing all 162. In 2020, he faltered a ton, was again primed for a bounce-back year in 2021 after signing with the Mets and was good again. Then, in 2022 he faltered again. If history repeats itself, Villar is a great target for 2023.

It is hard to pinpoint who Jonathan Villar is as a hitter, because over his past 4 seasons he has hit 24, 2, 18, and 3 home runs. He's also hit anywhere from .274 to .208 over that span as well. Villar is also not much more consistent as a defender, but he does have experience all across the infield (which is a plus). However, the most important part of his game has always been about speed and versatility.

In 2016, Villar stole 62 bases. In 2022 he stole 7 (in 59 games) while not getting caught once. Between the, he also stole 23, 35, 40, 16, and 14 bases in each season respectively.

Should the Yankees target him? If I had to pick a player from the list, Villar would be my go-to option for no reason other than how I think he's the biggest name who could be had on a minor league deal to start 2023. I also would love to see how his game plays with the bigger bases. Maybe he could even go back up to 20+ steals in a season and could serve the Yankees as their pinch-running specialist in the postseason. (Though, a player like Tyler Wade- who is now with the Oakland Athletics- would surely be a better fit.) Regardless, last year he was a perfect 7 for 7, even with a sprint speed that ranked in the 36th percentile (by baseballsavant). I wonder what 2023 would have in stock for him on the basepaths.


The Wrap-Up:

There is no need for the Yankees to spend much, if any, energy looking at depth options for second base for Spring Training. As it currently stands, it almost appears as if there is too much talent for the position for 2023. That's a good thing under a pure baseball and roster construction idea.

However, it is a bad thing for this series, as it would appear any of the big targets left out there would surely bypass the Yankees if there were to call. The window of opportunity for any of these players if they were looking to crack the Yankees as a second baseman is mighty small, if open at all. As my thoughts stay the same, if they want to be minor leaguers, sign them all today. If not, I wish them the best.

Obviously I hope that all of these guys find a spot for themselves in 2023. Rougned Odor was a fun player to have in the clubhouse. Donovan Solano could be a surprise yet again. Jonathan Villar needs to have an opportunity to steal some bases with the new rules. However, the way I see it, none of them are going to be involved with the Yankees this year.

1 comentario

Paul Semendinger
Paul Semendinger
09 feb 2023

The Yankees have an abundance of second basemen. I'd pass.

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