The Tuesday Discussion: If The Yankees Can Add Only Only Player…
This week we asked our writers to assume that the Yankees could choose only only “available” player to bring to the 2022 Yankees. If that were the case, who would it be?
Note – the player chosen must be someone with a realistic chance of the Yankees acquiring him (a potential free agent, a player on a team looking to deal players, etc…)
Here are the responses:
Ed Botti – There are a lot of players that would upgrade the Yankees.
Being realistic, and not dreaming up some one sided make belief trade, the one “available” player I would make sure was acquired this off season is Corey Seager. He checks all the boxes of things needed. Shortstop, left handed, puts the ball in play (18% K rate) a winner, clutch (2020 World Series MVP) young (27 years old).
If/when either Volpe or Peraza are ready in 2024 or so, he easily moves to third base.
Urshela, Seager, Torres, Rizzo with DJ as the super utility player and Wade in the hole.
It might not be the 2009 infield, but I’ll take it and go at in 2022.
Next on my list is Centerfield, and I’m on the phone with Bob Melvin and A. J. Preller looking to make a deal for Trent Grisham that involves Luke Voit and Aaron Hicks the minute the Word Series is over.
At the top of my list is a defensive minded, experienced, veteran staff leader to catch. Forget his offense. Gary Sanchez is a major liability behind the plate. He has gotten worse every year since Girardi left. I have seen enough.
Who that is right now needs to be analyzed very carefully, but I have some ideas.
They are available. It is critical for this team to find one for 2022. A Mike Stanley/Joe Girardi/Jose Molina/Tony Pena type of player. Someone to take charge, block balls, throw runners out, and not embarrass himself at the plate over 90-110 games.
More on that later this winter!
Cary Greene – If the Yankees could choose one available player from the available pool of Free-Agents, I would have to go with Corey Seager mainly because he’d be an excellent fit on the Yankee roster and in the clubhouse. I’m known for thinking outside of the box and I won’t be disappointing any of our readers with the following “expanded” notion:
Signing Seager, a 3.7 WAR performer this past season, is of course an easy and terrific short term solution for the Yankees issues at shortstop, however most insiders are speculating that Seager will need to move from shortstop in the near future. Offensively, moving a player as talented as Seager, who slashed .306/.394/.521, to third base is an easy way to get a terrific left handed bat near the top of the order.
Defensively, Seager had a .975 Fielding Percentage at shortstop which shows he’s more than capable of still playing the position. He also had a 0 DRS and a bit unkinder -3.4 UZR rating, but when we compare him to Andrew Velazquez’s .963, 0 DRS, -.8 UZR and Gio Urshela’s .970, -1 DRS, -.2 UZR he’s not going to be a real defensive upgrade over what the Yankees already have, but he’d more than hold his own for at least the 2022 season.
Therefore, why not sign Trevor Story also? Story posted a 3.5 WAR for the pitiful Rockies last season. He hit 24 home runs and slashed .251/.329/.471 with an .801 OPS in what was a down season for him. Defensively, Story was a .975 fielder who fields the position with far more athleticism, as evidenced by his +9 DRS and his +3.6 UZR rating.
Since the Yankees really do need to fix the roster, to big time signings this offseason throws a bunch of money, that Hal Steinbrenner would need to sign off on, and gives the Yankees the ability to now trade Gio Urshela, who has moderate trade value and could certainly be creatively packaged. Inking both players fixes the left side of the infield for the next half a decade and allows the Yankees to focus on what they want to do with the Catching, with Center field and also figure out first base.
In fact, NY could simply roll with a mix of Gleyber, LeMahieu and Voit to complete the infield and look to trade for a Center fielder and possibly take a shot at a Catcher who they could extend.
I’m a big fan of trading with Kansas City for Salvador Perez and or Andrew Benentendi and since they badly need a shortstop prospect, perhaps an easy trade could be made with the Yankees – who would be dealing from an organizational position of strength and could afford to deal Oswald Peraza or a lesser shortstop prospect.
This bigger strategy would leave centerfield as the last nut to crack for Brian Cashman.
Paul Semendinger – I think the Yankees have a number of positions that need upgrades Really, a host of them. Let me first do a quick rundown:
!b – Yes, they need a first baseman
2b – With Gleyber Torres and D.J. LeMahieu, this position is set
ss- Yes, they need a shortstop
3b – I’d prefer an upgrade over Gio Urshela at this point, but there are too many other needs to worry about third
lf – It’s Joey Gallo, like it or not
cf – Yes, they need an everyday centerfielder
rf – Aaron Judge
dh -Giancarlo Stanton
c – Yes, they need a solid catcher
sp – Yes, they need a starting pitcher (or two)
rp- I think I’d leave the bullpen alone at this point and focus on the other areas above
Yikes, that’s a lot of needs.
The question then becomes which (supposedly) available player can the Yankees get to improve the team in a significant way at first base, shortstop, centerfield, catcher, or starting pitching.
Picking just one is a huge task.
For first base, I love the idea of adding Matt Olson.
For shortstop, I would not get a big name since the two big Yankees minor league stars (Peraza and Volpe) are coming fast and this wouldn’t be the place I’d invest a lot of money since there are so many other needs.
For catcher, there just doesn’t seem to be a difference maker out there that’s a significant upgrade over Gary Sanchez. If I can only get one player, I’d use my resources in a spot other than catcher because of this.
The best available outfielder seems to be Ketel Marte. He can also play second base, and maybe even a passable shortstop in a pinch. He’s also a switch hitter and is only 28-years-old so his best four years should be coming immediately.
And for my starting rotation, there are a few pitchers who could help make a difference beginning with Max Scherzer. Robbie Ray would not be the one guy I would acquire if I could only acquire one player, I’m not sold on him being an ace or #2 since he’s been so inconsistent. Max Scherzer would be my number one target here, but if I can only acquire one player, it would not be an old pitcher.
As such, it would come down to Ketel Marte or Matt Olson.
Since Marte has more positional flexibility and is a more dynamic player, he’d be my pick.