The Yankees have once again found themselves in need of a strong infielder, especially after everyday shortstop Didi Gregorius sustained a shoulder injury in an exhibition game while playing for The Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic. Gregorius will start the season on the DL and miss all of April, making this a long term problem that New York has to fix.
Cue two decently qualified shortstops to fill that need: Zack Cozart of the Reds and Jose Iglesias of the Tigers. However, the Yankees declined the advances of both clubs shopping their shortstops, according to George A. King III of the New York Post.
While it is unknown what the asking price was for either shortstop, the Yankees have never been a team to shy away from cutting a big check. Even though this check is, hopefully, only for a month of play. Iglesias is locked in to earn $4.1 million this year and Cozart will earn $5.325 million, plus of course the cost of prospects it would take to make a deal.
Iglesias was an All-Star in 2015, although that was not reflected in his .255/.306/.336 slash line last season. Cozart is a powerhouse defender, saving 54 runs since his career began in 2012. His batting last season was middle of the road, but still not bad, hitting .252/.308./425. As good as his glove is, Cozart is 31, and the Reds could be trying to unload him in an effort to break in their younger players amidst the team’s rebuild.
The Yankees have some internal options, but a fair number of them have never played above Single- and Double-A, respectively. Utility infielder Ronald Torreyes could be New York’s best bet, and a good litmus test on how he’ll perform at shortstop on a regular basis. Ruben Tejada, Pete Kozma, and Tyler Wade are all in the mix, in addition to potentially moving Starlin Castro from second. Gleyber Torres, the top shortstop prospect acquired in the Chapman deal last trade deadline, does not look like an option because of the 20-year old’s lack of experience in the farm system.
If the Yankees chose to add someone from outside the organization, they need to be smart about what type of contract they offer and for how much, otherwise they’re stuck with another player they can’t shake at the trade deadline.