Ranking the Yankees’ 8 best options at shortstop in 2022, from Carlos Correa to Andrelton Simmons

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In the opinion of the Yankees’ decision makers, Gleyber Torres is “best served” as a second baseman from now on. And that means finding a new shortstop is an “area of need.”

Brian Cashman, the Yankees’ long-time general manager, said “we have to address it.”

MORE: Why did the Yankees keep Aaron Boone as manager?

So there you go. The Yankees are in the market for a shortstop for the 2022 season. Lucky for them, the crop of free-agent shortstops is deep this year, both with quality and quantity. Question is, will the Yankees go fishing at the top of the market? Contracts up there won’t be cheap, and there’s another thing to consider. 

Take a look at the organization’s farm system. By MLB.com’s ranking, three of the Yankees’ top seven prospects are shortstops — Anthony Volpe (No. 1), Oswald Perez (No. 3) and Trey Sweeney (No. 7). Baseball America has Volpe as the No. 22 prospect in all of baseball and Perez at No. 58. Not too shabby. MLB.com’s ETA for both prospects is 2023. 

Question is, how much do they believe in the youngsters? Enough to miss a chance at one of the best established shortstops available on the free-agent market? If they sign one of the big names, they could always move the prospects in a deal, or maybe transition the prospects to different positions. All this is to say, the Yankees have options for the future.

Let’s take a look at the most likely candidates to play short at Yankee Stadium in 2022. 

1. Carlos Correa

Offseason status: Free agent

Why he fits: Correa is seen as a villain, sure. That’s probably never going to change, at least in the eyes of some fans after that Astros sign-stealing scandal. But he’s one hell of a ballplayer and he just turned 27 years old in September. He’s an above-average defensive shortstop and an outstanding hitter, with a knack for stepping up in the biggest moments. It’s easy to see Yankees fans embrace him as their villain after a big month or two.

Here’s the thing, though: He’s going to land a massive, massive contract this offseason. Are the Yankees going to be the team that outbids everyone else? They already have massive deals with Gerrit Cole and Giancarlo Stanton, and at some point soon they’ll have to deal with Aaron Judge’s status. Even if they deemed Correa to be the best option to help the team win in 2022, is giving him the contract it would take to land him the best long-term move for the franchise? That’s what they’ll have to figure out.  

2. Corey Seager

Offseason status: Free agent

Why he fits: Same thing with Correa, except without the whole villain thing (unless you’re a Giants fan who hates all Dodgers, of course). Is giving a shortstop a massive long-term contract the right move for the franchise? Seager has the postseason pedigree — remember his NLCS and World Series MVPs last year? — and it’s easy to see his home run totals jumping up with that left-handed swing of his depositing pitch after pitch into the short porch in right field. He’s only a few months older than Correa — he turned 27 last April — and though he’s had issues staying healthy, he’s been super productive when on the field. 

MORE: Five questions the Yankees face this offseason

3. Trevor Story

Offseason status: Free agent

Why he fits: Story’s free-agent value has no doubt been helped by strong post-Colorado seasons by former Rockies hitting stars D.J. LeMahieu and Nolan Arenado. His final Rockies season wasn’t an ideal way to go into the free-agent market, but he still had 24 homers and 20 stolen bases — 13 and 10, respectively, on the road. Most of his power is to left field, but his overall spray chart is pretty spread out. No doubt he’d pick up more than the occasional home run over that short right-field fence. Oh, and from 2018 to 2021, he’s fourth among MLB shortstops in DRS, with 44, so he fits that “defensive shortstop” element, too. 

4. Marcus Semien

Offseason status: Free agent

Why he fits: Yes, Semien is a few years older than Correa, Seager or Story — he’s 31 — but it’s not like he’s at the end of his prime and looking for a short-term contract. He’ll still land something at least four years in length, which would make him anything but a placeholder for the Yankees’ shortstop prospects. Semien was amazing for the Blue Jays in 2021, popping 45 homers and stealing 15 bases while playing second base for Toronto. The added bonus of signing Semien would be taking him away from the Jays, who are seen as the likely favorites to sign him this offseason. 

5. Javier Báez

Offseason status: Free agent

Why he fits: We saw the best and worst of Javy Báez in his short time with the Mets after New York’s other club dealt for him in late July. There was the whole “thumbs down” thing, but in his last 33 games with the Mets, he hit .333 with a .970 OPS, seven home runs, 17 RBIs and five stolen bases. He’s not the best defensive shortstop out there, but he’s still well above-average with the glove. The question with Báez is the same as the question with Correa, Seager and Story: Do the Yankees want to commit the type of years and money it would take to land him when they have so many elite shortstop prospects in the pipeline. 

6. José Iglesias

Offseason status: Free agent

Why he fits: Few players boosted their free-agent value in September more than Iglesias, who joined the Red Sox after the playoff roster deadline but made a huge impact anyway. In 23 games, he batted .356 with a .406 on-base percentage. And that was after Iglesias — always an outstanding defensive shortstop — batted .373 in 39 games for Baltimore in 2020. He’s not going to command a long, lucrative deal, but he’s likely earned a starting job somewhere in 2021. If stellar defense and a short-term solution is the Yankees’ priority, they could do much worse than Iglesias, who will turn 32 this offseason. 

MORE: MLB postseason bracket, schedule, TV channels

7. Paul DeJong

Offseason status: Cardinals infielder

Why he fits: DeJong probably wouldn’t be a Top Five Option, but he is available and seems like a classic “change of scenery” candidate. Think of him as a potential stop-gap until the prospects arrive, with solid upside potential. Let’s start with this: DeJong is an above-average defensive shortstop, which is part of the reason the Cardinals kept playing him even when his bat went ice-cold in 2021. Since 2018, he’s sixth among shortstops with at least 3,000 innings at the position in DRS, with 36, and fourth in UZR/150, at 7.9. DeJong spent most of his time with the Cardinals batting third (152 games) or fifth (130 games), but that wouldn’t be the case with the Yankees. In that lineup, when everyone’s healthy, DeJong bats eighth or ninth, and his kind of pop — 30 homers in 2019, when he was an All-Star — would be nice to have down there.

Also, remember the “change of scenery” thing? The Cardinals wouldn’t demand a ton in return, and his contract is team-friendly; he’s owed a total of $15 million through 2023, with club options for 2024 and 2025. If he regains his power stroke and finds a bit more consistency, great. If all he brings is a defensive upgrade with occasional pop and gives way to one of the kids in 2023, that’d be fine, too. 

8. Andrelton Simmons

Offseason status: Free agent

Why he fits: Check the replies to any Yankees reporter who tweeted Cashman’s mention of “defensive shortstop” and you’ll see panicked Yankees fans saying, “Oh, no, not Simmons!” He’s 32 and his defensive numbers were solid, though far from elite as he’s been his whole career. Has he lost a step? If front offices feel that he really has, it could be tough for him to find a job this offseason, at least early this offseason. Simmons has never been much of an offensive threat — his career-best OPS+ is 108 — but he hit an all-time career low in 2021, batting just .223 with 15 extra-base hits (12 doubles, three homers) in 451 PAs, to go with a 57 OPS+. He feels like a candidate for a non-roster invitation to spring training at this point. 



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