"No Clear Lanes" Or "Why the Yankees will not sign Dream Infielder X this winter."

Much was made of Cashman's comment that Volpe could not come up because there was no clear lane for him to regular playing time. Maybe it was Peraza, but then Peraza got called up, and has played every now and again. I was on Twitter or Facebook and someone was saying the Yankees, this offseason, have to sign Trea Turner, regardless of positional overlap, and just figure it out. I noted that not worrying about positional overlap is how they wound up with Giancarlo Stanton signed through 2027, and why Judge might leave the Yankees this offseason. I was told that it was different, because Stanton was an outfielder, and Turner, Peraza and Cabrera play infield and outfield. I said there really aren't at bats for Turner unless they radically restructure the team and make a lot of trades.

Just to make this clear, in the infield the Yankees are currently committed to the following players for the noted number of years:

  • Josh Donaldson - 1 year at $21M plus an option for 2024 that will cost $8M to decline or $16M to retain.
  • Anthony Rizzo - 1 year at $16M, which he can opt out of. He won't because his value this year has been tied to Yankee Stadium, and he's been injured, so it's unlikely that he'll get a longer or larger deal to play elsewhere.
  • DJ LeMaheiu - 4 years at $15M. He's 34 now. .He'll be 38-39 on the other end of that contract, and has limited no trade protection (5 team block) in 2023, and 10-5 rights to block all trades from 2024 on.
  • Gleyber Torres - 1 more year of team control, last shot at Arb.
  • IKF - 2 years of team control, two more shots at Arb.
  • Oswaldo Cabrera - 5 more years
  • Oswald Peraza - 5 more years
  • Anthony Volpe - 5 more years if he breaks camp with the Yankees.
They are also committed to the "outfield" with:
  • Stanton - 5 years, plus a team option that will pay him $10m to go away.
  • Hicks - 3 years plus a cheap option to buy out from for the 4th year.
  • Bader - 1 year, $5.2 mil (with bonuses for PAs/Starts).
Now, Trea Turner last played Centerfield in 2016, so I don't think you can call him an Infield/Outfield utility like Cabrera.

So, riddle me this, faithful reader:
With an infield of Rizzo-Torres-IKF/Peraza/Volpe-Donaldson - with LeMahieu as the utility fill in, where will Turner, Bogaerts, Correa, et. al. play, exactly?

If they manage to trade Donaldson (seems unlikely), or DFA him... They still have: Rizzo, Torres, DJLM, IKF, Peraza, Cabrera, and Volpe. 2023 is also the last chance to get out from DJLM. He's got a ton of value, but once he gets his 10-5 rights, Yankees gonna have a guy who refuses to go on the IL but has played hurt (and poorly once hurt) for the past two years. Even with Donaldson and DJLM gone, you have first, second, short and maybe third covered.

Okay, so Roster Nuke Fantasy Scenario time:
They deal/DFA: Donaldson, Torres, DJLM and IKF.
That gives you the room to have an infield of: Rizzo - Cabrera - Peraza - Volpe. Maybe you could sign Turner to play 2nd and 1st, with occasional SS. Or maybe you just retain IKF to play 3rd, SS, and let Cabrera be the DJLM.

I would be very surprised if that happens, as they'd have to pay someone to take Donaldson, and probably DJLM. And we know the Yankees hate to pay folks to play elsewhere.

In conclusion: Next year's team is gonna look a lot like this one on the field, maybe with more time for the young guys and hopefully a man name Judge in right field.

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