The Yankees made a trade last night, just in time for spring training to be underway. In a three-way deal with the Diamondbacks and Rays, they sent out two prospects and received Brandon Drury in exchange. In a short amount of time, the 25-year-old Drury has played multiple positions, but his infield experience is why the Yankees acquired him. What does his addition mean for the team’s depth chart in the long run?
First, let’s get a few things straight. Drury can hit for some power, and he’s still pretty young, but other than that he’s entirely underwhelming. He doesn’t walk, he strikes out a lot, and his defense ranges from absolutely atrocious to at least passable. The Yankees should not bother trying him in the outfield, and he’s hardly proven himself at second or third either. It’s only a trade worth making because the pieces they gave up were so far away.
Drury is under team control for four years, so this isn’t a short-term addition. That means he’ll be here for Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar’s ascension to the big leagues. In 2018, he will upright the entire depth chart and take playing time away from a few position players. It seemed crazy that the Yankees might head into the season with two rookies in the infield, and it’s clear that Brian Cashman thought the same thing.
The Yankees can effectively get another year out of Torres and Andujar by holding them back in the minors for an extra two weeks. They may not announce that outright, but you better believe they are eyeing that as the easy decision to make. The only question would be who could fill in during that time. Considering the Yankees just sprang for him, it’s likely Drury is a lock to make the major league team at this point.
That either means Ronald Torreyes is out of a job, or one of the rookies will need to wait a little longer to start their major league career. Looking at the guys in spring training, it’s becoming increasingly hard to see both Jace Peterson and Danny Espinosa make the team. Drury does come with the added “benefit” of playing third base, so they could always put him there and have Espinosa start at second.
For a young guy like Tyler Wade, he likely remains in the conversation through spring, but will ultimately end up in Triple-A thanks to the numbers game. Unfortunately, it’s now that much harder for him to find playing time on the major league team, barring an injury. Drury could also be the end of Torreyes’s time with the Yankees. While he’s proven to be a reliable backup infielder, Torreyes has shown to be ineffective over longer spurts. The team may prefer Drury’s bat over Torreyes’ glove.
Whatever the plan is, Drury won’t be displacing Gleyber Torres for very long, if at all. Worst case scenario, the Yankees view this new addition as their everyday third baseman, and that could be a scary thing. Hopefully the Yankees see something we don’t and he turns into the next Didi Gregorius, because right now it’s hard to tell whether or not Drury is a better option than who they already had.