clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Yankees potential trade target: Travis Shaw

The Yankees could be looking within the AL East for reinforcement in the infield.

Toronto Blue Jays v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Coming into the 2020 season, infield depth was probably one of the last things we thought the Yankees would need to take a look at before the trade deadline. However, with injuries to All-Star talents such as DJ LeMahieu and Gleyber Torres, New York could be in the market for some help on the dirt. There are many different players that could be on Brian Cashman’s radar, but today we’re going to focus on someone who has been a familiar face in the American League East: Travis Shaw.

Shaw, 30, was with the Boston Red Sox from 2015-2016, and is currently in his first season with the Toronto Blue Jays after spending the previous three years in Milwaukee. He didn’t have a promising 2019 season, playing only 86 games and hitting well below the Mendoza line with a 47 wRC+. That poor performance came as a bit of a surprise as he put up back-to-back 3.5+ fWAR seasons in the two years prior.

2020 has been better for Shaw, but the numbers still aren’t all that eye-popping. He’s hitting .231/.306/.385 with a 90 wRC+, which are all relatively below-average marks. While his slashline is subpar, Shaw does hit the ball hard. In fact, he’s in the top 5% of the entire league in exit velocity and hard hit percentage. Here’s his hardest-hit ball of the year, clocked at 107.4 mph on an offspeed pitch.


Hitting the ball hard is one thing, but if Shaw can piece it all together, he could be a good addition to this Yankees ball club. Moreover, Shaw has been excellent with runners in scoring position in 2020, hitting .300 with a .500 OBP and 1.100 OPS. Timely hitting is something that every team needs, and he has brought that to the table thus far.

One of the biggest parts of his game that will need to improve is his strikeout rate. Shaw gets sent packing in 31.9% of his plate appearances, which is in the bottom nine-percent of the league. With only three homers this year, those strikeout numbers will add up if he can’t put the ball in the seats. Besides, the Yankees already have a few big bats that hit the ball hard and tend to strikeout often. I’m not so sure Yankees fans would love another one of those guys, especially one that may not hit for enough power to compensate for his tendency to whiff.

We’ve covered Shaw’s bat, so let’s take a look at his glove. He has played 16 games at third and four at first base this year, which obviously means he isn’t much of a middle infielder, something the Yankees could be looking for. The last time he saw time up the middle was in 2019 for a mere 2.2 innings. At the corner infield positions, Shaw has been average, which isn’t the worst thing in the world. That said, Gio Urshela has had no problem at the hot corner, which hurts the case for Shaw to make his way to the Bronx.

With a lackluster bat and mediocre glove, I’m not so sure how interested the Yankees will be in Shaw. He doesn’t offer much (if anything at all) that Tyler Wade and Thairo Estrada can’t provide as well. Besides, Gleyber Torres and DJ LeMahieu are scheduled to return to play within the next week or so. The Bombers aren’t in dire need to surrender assets for Shaw when there are better options both out there and in-house.