The buzz around the Yankees hasn’t been this potent since the early 90’s, when a rat pack of homegrown talent, similar to today’s, was making its way toward the bigs. With so many pieces of the team’s future starting to fall into place, there’s still one big question left to answer: the hot corner. There’s no shortage of exciting options rolling in to take the helm at the position once championed by Yankee greats like Graig Nettles, A-Rod Corp™ CEO, Alex Rodriguez, and of course, Scott Supercalifragilisticexpiali-Brosius. It’s an embarrassment of riches and, just like Scrooge McDuck, Yankee fans are ready to swan (duck?) dive into their giant room of treasures.
First things first: Cashman are you listening? It’s me, Chase.
Despite Chase Headley’s uncharacteristically strong start to the season (and his new role, real or not, as the master shift-buster), his job security is wanting. Early-season optimism can be fun, but the reality is that his days in pinstripes are numbered. However, until the day he leaves us, all we can do is speculate on our prospects, hopes, and dreams. For now, that means one of three paths: move Starlin Castro or Gleyber Torres, promote Miguel Andujar, or attempt to sign Manny Machado. Time for a hot take.
Keep Castro at second. Trade Andujar. Hard pass on Machado. Gleyber Torres is the next great Yankee third baseman.
After cruising his way through the minors, earning the youngest MVP award in Arizona Fall League history, and then putting up an impressive .448/.469/.931 slash line in spring training, it’s pretty clear, #GleyberGood. Yankees fans are salivating over the idea of having this guy in the everyday line up. The only problem is, most want him in the wrong spot.
Gleyber is a shortstop, but the Yankees already have a shortstop. His name is Sir Didi and we love him. So, the most common call is to shift Gleyber to second and either move Castro to third or move him off the team knowing that Andujar is gunning for that spot in the corner. But, why? Castro is a solid second baseman. There isn’t a team in the league who doesn’t want a pair of 20 home-run-hitting middle infielders who are well on their way to becoming Major League Besties.
We may not have seen what Castro is capable of yet, but what we have seen is solid offensive production and—despite a lackluster UZR—some flashes of genius with the leather. This is, of course, all dependent on whether or not he actually continues to produce. For now, leave him be.
Next up: Miguel Andujar. At this point, we have to go mostly on the word of some trusted Yankees within the minor league system, but the praise for this kid is high. However, at this moment, Andujar isn't as proven a commodity as Gleyber. This simply makes him an exciting thought, and the Yankees are flush with exciting thoughts. What they’re not flush with is starting pitching. As much as it would hurt to see a much-buzzed-about prospect head to another squad, it may be for the greater good. You can’t sit at the lunch table and expect to trade up for a Snack Pack on string cheese alone. You’ll need to also kick in some Gushers if you want that pudding. If the Yanks want to sweeten the deal to bring a top-of-the-rotation arm into the fold, a shiny prospect is a good way to do it. It’s rough, I know, but Gleyber is the now and Andujar is the maybe tomorrow.
And now, to the Oriole in the room. There is no argument about Manny Machado. The Yankees would be lucky to sign him as a free agent after 2018. He’s an incredible player who could become the face of the team for years, but with Gleyber moving over, we have a great third baseman. No offense to Manny, we already have some pretty strong face-of-the-organization candidates (*cough* GREG BIRD *cough*). Now that we’re looking at a possible stellar infield of Greg Bird, Starlin Castro, Didi Gregorius, Gleyber Torres, and Gary Sanchez behind the dish, we can get to work on the outfield.
Passing on Machado only means the Yankees are looking to sure up that last outfield spot once Aaron Judge and Clint Frazier ascend comfortably into the upper stratosphere known as the elite (Assuming Frazier doesn’t retire from baseball due to Suzyn Waldman-related stress). Who better to fill that spot than Mr. Make Baseball Fun Again, Bryce Harper? Throw in an elite, MVP-level talent with a fiery attitude to an already loaded-with-talent team of young personalities and now we’re cooking with gas.
And just like that, nudging the course of Gleyber Torres’ career toward third brings Brian Cashman’s 2019 “uber team” train to the station.
Next stop: Canyon of Heroes.