Sometime over the next week we’ll hopefully find out once and for all where Manny Machado intends to sign. If he chooses the Yankees, they’re all set with their short-term Didi Gregorius replacement. If not, then they will likely turn their attention to the lower-tier infielders on the market. We’ve already covered everyone from Jed Lowrie to DJ LeMahieu. Here’s a look at some of the other (cheaper) options out there, including possible reunions with former Yankees.
Escobar doesn’t really have much going for him other than the fact that he is a natural shortstop, so the Bombers could leave Gleyber Torres at second base in this scenario. He’s a poor hitter, doesn’t walk much, and his defense isn’t anything to write home about. Escobar, 32, has been good for 140+ games each season over the last nine years, so he’s done a remarkable job staying healthy. He is coming off of a one-year deal worth $2.5 million, so he could be an inexpensive option if the Yankees just want to throw a warm body at short until Gregorius recovers.
Beckham, 28, is coming off of a dreadful season where he hit .230/.287/.374 with 79 wRC+ and was worth -0.5 fWAR. With experience at second, third, and short, he’d be more of a true utility player. He isn’t a good defender, so that seems to cancel out his usefulness. Beckham does run into a home run every so often, though.
Could the Yankees bring back Walker? The odds of him having a worse season than he did in 2018 are low, at least. It is true that he heated up in the second half (.247/.346/.442 and eight home runs), but he still finished the season worth just 0.1 fWAR. Maybe he would have a better year overall if the Bombers signed him early and he participated in a full spring training. Being the regular starter until Gregorius comes back might help too. He is the best option on this list as far as hitters go, and is a useful backup around the diamond.
Meanwhile, Hechavarria is probably the best option on this list in terms of defense. The Yankees even used him as a late-inning replacement for Miguel Andujar during the postseason. He doesn’t have much of a bat, but he did manage two home runs in just 36 at-bats in pinstripes. When Gregorius re-joins the team, Hechavarria could spell Andujar at third base on occasion (and go back to serving as a defensive sub).