The Yankees made the surprising decision to jettison Chase Headley and the $13 million he is owed next year, and then...nothing. The move to free up payroll space was expected to lead to another transaction, but so far everything remains silent. While fans may be left panicking over the fact that there’s no one to play third base right now, there’s no way the team is even close to worried. Here are three reasons why:
A reunion is still on the table
Just last month it seemed like a reunion with Todd Frazier was pretty close to impossible. Having Headley at third and Greg Bird at first made Frazier the odd man out, but now that there is space for him, it at least remains a possibility. There has been very little interest in him so far this offseason, so at this point, Brian Cashman may be waiting him out.
While I have not been a particularly strong proponent of a reunion with Todd Frazier, waiting him out will only make the resulting deal better for the Yankees. If this means fewer years on the final contract, that’s a good thing. With Manny Machado a free agent next year, you don’t want to promise too much to an inferior player at the same position if you don’t have to. Thankfully, the Yankees don’t have to.
The internal options are there
The Yankees have plenty of internal options to choose from if they feel one of their prospects is ready to play every day right out of the gate. However, things get a little complicated because second base is also vacant, and it’s hard to see this team go with two kids in the infield. Gleyber Torres may be the best prospect in baseball right now, even after undergoing Tommy John surgery halfway through the year. When he makes it to the majors, the Yankees are more likely to use him at second if no one else is signed.
That leaves Miguel Andujar, a third baseman who has greatly improved in the field, and Tyler Wade, an infielder capable of playing anywhere. It’s hard to say whether either of them will be trusted enough to get major playing time, considering their shortcomings. It’s still a question of whether Andujar is a major league third baseman, and Wade has a major league bat.
Still, though, it’s not all doom and gloom. Torres is a great fielder whose bat would fit at several infield positions, Andujar has legit power that will make him a fit for third base, and Wade is a legitimate threat on the base paths. The options are there, and they are real.
There are plenty of second-half reinforcements
If worse comes to worst, and the Yankees sign no one, and the kids don’t do as well as we would have all hoped, there is still no reason to panic. The 2019 free agent class is packed with third base talent, making a trade for a rental at this year’s deadline very easy to make happen.
The best options include Adrian Beltre, Josh Donaldson, and Manny Machado. Beltre, who is likely on the last leg of his career, could be sent out this summer if the Rangers fail to be competitive. The organization could be OK sending him off to a competitor for one last chance at winning a ring.
Donaldson and Machado would be a lot trickier to pull off because they play in the AL East. The Orioles have already shown that they care more about the Yankees getting Machado than actually improving the team. The Blue Jays may be more willing to listen, but either way, it’s going to cost a lot to trade within the division.
The good news is that even if those three don’t work out, other options exist. The Astros have Marwin Gonzalez, who is coming off a great 2017. Guys like David Freese, Logan Forsythe, and Luis Valbuena could also be had for very little.
Whatever the Yankees decide to do at third base this year, it should be comforting to know that the team has options to choose from. Something will work out for them this year.