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Prospect depth should never preclude the addition of proven talent

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Having too much talent is a good problem for an organization to have.

MLB: NLDS-San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

According to some, the Yankees’ front office suddenly finds themselves staring down the barrel of an impossible offseason decision. As we’ve explored on the site recently, Gleyber Torres does not appear to be cut out for shortstop, and the organization’s late-season decision to move him back to second base signals that his chance to stick at short is officially dead.

Luckily for the Yankees, there’s a plethora of young shortstop talent hitting the market this season, and the organization has the ability to spend big to get one of them. Of note, Corey Seager (27), Carlos Correa (27), and Trevor Story (28) are all set to earn huge paydays in free agency, and they are all upgrades on both sides of the ball. Outside of the top-level young talent, Javier Báez and Marcus Semien are both looking to make bank this offseason. Suffice to say, a talent pool like this doesn’t hit the free agent market every day.

Wait, let me re-write that for a second...

Luckily for the Yankees, there are two intriguing prospects in their system that appear to be nearly ready. Anthony Volpe (20) and Oswald Peraza (21) both had monster seasons and could be knocking on the door very soon. Both appear to be potential offensive stars, and Peraza in particular projects to play excellent defense. Suffice to say, prime talent like this doesn’t come through the organization every day.

So, what should the Yankees do? Should they sign one of the young, extremely talented shortstops on the market to a long-term, lucrative contract, or should they sign a stop-gap option (think Andrelton Simmons or Freddy Galvis) and wait until Volpe or Peraza are ready? That’s the ($300) million dollar question. But this is also where a number of people — fans and media alike — are tripping over themselves to prove to the other side that this is a one-way-or-the-other dichotomy and that the Yankees can’t possibly have both.

Though I’ve seen this kind of thinking in the comments recently, it was given real-world authenticity on Thursday morning, when this tweet from SNY took baseball Twitter by storm:

Much like Mike Petriello, I’d like to remind everyone that you cannot have too much of a good thing. I made this point when the Yankees traded to pair Giancarlo Stanton with Aaron Judge, and I’m making it again now.

From an on-field perspective Seager, Correa, and Story are all the game-changing type of talent that an organization dreams of employing. Shortstop is arguably the most important position on the field and in the lineup, and all three of these players are capable of posting elite numbers with excellent (or average, in Seager’s case) defense to boot. Fans have been clamoring for the Yankees to sign or trade for players who don’t strike out and consistently put the ball in play. Both Seager (who is also a lefty) and Correa fit that bill. Fans have also been clamoring for strong defenders up the middle and players that can run the bases well. Both Correa and Story fit that bill.

With Judge and Stanton anchoring the lineup in 2022 and Gerrit Cole once again leading the rotation, this team is really not that far off from being competitive again. The addition of any one of Seager, Correa, or Story might be enough to put this offense over the top. While I agree that Volpe and Peraza project to be very good, the core of this team is capable of winning now. Why waste another season to see if either of the prospects pan out when options to upgrade exponentially are available right now?

From a professional development perspective, there appears to be a major drop-off between development in the minor leagues and development in the major leagues. Remember, it wasn’t too long ago when Judge, Gary Sánchez, Gleyber Torres, Miguel Andújar, and Clint Frazier, among others, were expected to be the future of this organization’s offense. Outside of Judge, can we definitively say that any of the others have developed into the game-changing talent they were hyped up to be? Sánchez and Torres both exploded onto the scene and faded as quickly as they emerged, Andújar hasn’t been able to stay on the field since an excellent debut season, and Frazier never seemed to gain his footing consistently at the major league level before suffering what could shape up to be a devastating injury.

What about the Yankees’ recent track record with so-called can’t-miss prospects inspires hope that Volpe and Peraza will be different enough to sabotage the here-and-now for future potential? And this is just on the offensive side of the ball. Remember when Clarke Schmidt and Chance Adams were considered can’t-miss? Or how about we go back a little bit further and conjure up a memory of the Killer B’s? Jumping back to offense, remember Jesús Montero? What I’m trying to say is this: outside of the Core Five (long live Bernie Williams) — a success that will likely never be repeated — and, recently, Aaron Judge, this organization doesn’t exactly have a sparkling record when it comes to translating potential into MLB success.

Finally, from a futures perspective, there is somewhat reasonable concern that the addition of any one of Seager, Correa, or Story would undoubtedly block both Volpe and Peraza. If the last few years have shown us anything, though, it’s that this organization is willing to move guys around on the field to ensure they are getting their biggest impact bats in the lineup (2021 Luke Voit notwithstanding). If Volpe and Peraza both pan out, the Yankees will find a way to get them into the lineup on a consistent basis. For instance, if the Yankees were to sign Seager, he could play shortstop for a season or two and then slide over to third base, where his defense projects to be better, when Peraza is ready. Conversely, if the Yankees were to sign Correa, who is the definition of an elite defensive shortstop, they could move Volpe to second, since his arm might not hold up as a Major League shortstop anyways. As they say, there’s no such thing as too much talent.

All of this is to say that prospect depth should never preclude the addition of MLB-proven talent. Prospects are called prospects for a reason, which we saw with Deivi García this year. In short, there is no such thing as a can’t-miss prospect. The decision the Yankees are facing this offseason is not nearly as complicated as people are making it out to be. Sign one of Seager, Correa, or Story to win now, and worry about the future when you get there. After all, it’s high time the Yankees started acting like the Yankees again anyways.