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Assessing The Options - Yankees V3: Second Base

The time has come... free agency is officially upon us. Hours upon the Braves winning the World Series, the 2022 odds were published and Vegas has the Yankees as the fourth best odds of winning it all at +1000. Stakes are already high and not a single addition has been made.

We dabbled in our first base choices last week, coming to the conclusion that having DJ LeMahieu makes things complicated unless one of Gleyber Torres or Gio Ursehela is traded (assuming Rizzo is resigned). As we shift through the diamond, our next topic is what the Yankees will do at second base.

Oddly enough, this isn't a position with great concern, as the Yankees currently have three starting caliber players for the position, with the likes of DJ, Gleyber, and Rougned Odor. The matter of the fact and the elephant in the room is, who is taking the primary responsibilities? Or is there someone from the outside who can offer an "upgrade"? Let's dive in.

Photo: Rob Tringali / Getty Images


Internal Options

Gleyber Torres

The shortstop experiment is officially over. I think every Yankee fan wanted him to do well, especially with the void the position has had since Didi Gregorius left. Unfortunately, that didn't occur. 2019, we saw Torres hammer 38 homeruns and 152 hits. He was comfortable and in a rhythm. He shifted to short in 2020 and the struggle began. It took over 100 games for Boone to put Torres back to second, and his confidence and offense production immediately shot up. With the young Torres not slated to hit free agency until 2025, I find it hard finding a trade partner that would provide steady return. At 24 he's already a 2x All-Star and I honestly believe last season was just a down year. He seems to be locked into the Yankees immediate plans.

DJ LeMahieu

DJ is a true second baseman, but can fit in at first and third on a regular basis. When you sign a guy through 2026 on a $90M+ deal, you'd probably prefer to have him in his natural spot, the spot where he won three gold gloves. In 2020, DJ led the Majors with a .364 batting average during the shortened ’20 season, finishing third in the MVP race and bringing home a Silver Slugger Award. This past season though, LeMahieu was battling a sports hernia, resulting in a production dip. He is not being moved and when healthy, he is one of the teams top performers. It all depends on what happens the remainder of this offseason. If Rizzo or another first baseman isn't signed, then DJ will be slotted there. If Torres is moved or even Gio, he'll play there. It is a big question mark at the moment.

Rougned Odor

Rougieeee. He became a fan favorite and a loveable character for the Yankees. It was a surprise May trade that brought the him over from the Rangers, and Texas agreed to pay the remainder of his contract. He's a free depth piece and provides immense value with his clubhouse presence, lefty bat, veteran experience, and ability to play around the diamond if needed. I consider him a starter quality second baseman, but I love him in his bench role, would be perfectly fine if he steps up in small doses.


Free Agents

I want to preface this section by saying I don't believe the Yanks will go out and sign a free agent when they have three quality second baseman at home. For blog purposes and due diligence, I opted to include some free agent options. What I will say is, I LOVE the versatility of some of these guys. They would help fill multiple wholes and allow movement amongst the diamond that'll give some players some time off on the field while keeping their bats in the lineup. Definitely stretch

Chris Taylor

The ultimate swiss-army knife and what would be a tremendous loss for the Dodgers if they can't retain Chris Taylor. After losing Kike Hernandez and Joc Pederson, it's safe to say that the Dodgers don't want to repeat history. However, they have a full team to try to retain, including Corey Seager (unlikely), Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer, and Kenley Jensen.

This season specifically, I was drawn by his play. He spent the majority time at shortstop this season (81 games, interesting), but he also played 50 games in center, 24 in left, 12 at second, and 8 at third. Not only does he provide defensive versatility, but he also has a steady bat. In 2021, Taylor hit .254/.344/.438 with 20 home runs in 148 games. Taylor will be entering his age-31 season, so not sure the money behind the deal or if there will be any reluctance, but he is a player that fits many needs and would sure be worth the slight overpay.

Marcus Semien

More of a dark horse candidate but another player who can offer great versatility and a hot bat. A shortstop with the A's and a 2B with the Blue Jays, his 2021 is sure going to earn him a payday. Even though he'll be turning 32, Semien will be a hot commodity this offseason. He hit a line of .265/.334/.538 (133 OPS+), with 45 homers. He leads all MLB position players in fWAR since 2019 and one of the most durable players in the league, logging 155 games played or more in five of the last six full seasons. Taking him away from the Blue Jays would also be more than ideal.

What I would love to happen: Yankees sign Chris Taylor around four-years, $50M range, playing primarily SS/OF. This would take them out of the major shortstop class (Correa, Seager, Story, etc.), but allows the Yankees to keep Torres at second and on the team, and allows DJLM to move around the diamond.

What I think will happen: Gleyber Torres will remain at second, while DJ LeMahieu will fill the void when adjusting the lineup. He will likely play first or third if this occurs. More to come on what happens for the rest of the infield.


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