Once again, things are not going well for Chase Headley. Through his first 50 games of the season, the Yankees third baseman is hitting just .227/.300/.348 with three home runs in 200 plate appearances. As disappointing as the his four-year, $52 million contract has been, this would be his worst season in pinstripes yet, if the season ended today.
Due to his struggles, the team may be looking for a new third baseman outside the organization, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. If the Yankees truly are looking to trade for another third baseman, I have no idea who they could be looking at because there aren’t really any pleasing options for the cost they will surely require to unroot.
Many of the third basemen who are set to hit free agency are either not doing very well, or if they are, they wouldn’t be worth the cost it would take to acquire them at the deadline. Todd Frazier is actually having a worse season at the plate than Headley, if you can believe it. Jed Lowrie is hitting well, but he is also struggling against left-handed pitching, just like Headley. Mike Moustakas is having a good year, but is he really worth acquiring when the Royals would be asking for a big return for just a few months?
To this end, the Yankees shouldn’t even be looking to acquire a new third baseman because the move really isn’t worth the cost. If Headley’s time is truly coming to an end, the team should at least be considering their internal options first. All eyes seem to be on Gleyber Torres following the 20-year-old’s promtion to Triple-A. He hit .273/.367/.496 with five home runs in Double-A but has yet to hit in Scranton. Then there is also Tyler Wade, who has hit .297/.371/.446 with five homers at six different positions.
Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as picking one of these players and calling them up. Neither have much experience at third base. Wade is being turned into a super utility type, but he’s only spent five games at the hot corner because Torres is now receiving playing time there. Still, Gleyber only has 12 games to his name at the position between two different levels. It sounds like it should be a simple move to make, but it just doesn’t work like that.
Perhaps the player that should be getting more attention at this moment is Miguel Andujar, the organization’s sole third base prospect. Andujar is hitting .302/.333/.492 with six home runs this year in his second time through Double-A Trenton. The 22-year-old probably deserves a trip to Scranton, but Wade and Torres on the roster leave him with no room to play at the moment. If the Yankees truly want someone new at third, maybe this is the guy.
Headley is still owed $13 million for the 2018 season, so it doesn’t sound like he’ll be going anywhere any time soon. The team’s long-term solution at third should involve backing up a dump truck full of money for Manny Machado, but in the meantime, a prospect like Andujar could be an interesting stopgap. Who knows if he has a future with the organization, but he’s certainly worth a look in the short-term.