While the New York Yankees are probably less than likely to land Cleveland Indians' shortstop Francisco Lindor in a trade, they have touched base with another accomplished shortstop in free agency.
On the latest edition of "Big Time Baseball," RADIO.COM MLB Insider Jon Heyman says that the Yankees have contacted four-time Gold Glove Award winner Andrelton Simmons.
After allowing Didi Gregorius to leave in free agency, Gleyber Torres took over as the full-time shortstop. While Torres had a relatively underwhelming offensive season, it's hard to draw too many conclusions of the 60-game season. Most likely, the .243 batting average that he had through 42 games would have risen in a normal 162-game campaign. However, the -9 defensive runs saved Torres had at shortstop in a pandemic-shortened season was an alarming amount.
Of course, Torres wasn't exactly a Gold Glover at second base, either. He had -12 defensive runs saved at second base in 2019. Perhaps he's best-geared to be a DH in the long-term, but it does seem he'll be playing one of the two middle-infield positions in 2020. If push comes to shove, most teams would like their stronger defender to be at shortstop.
Enter Simmons, who has a staggering 191 career defensive runs saved in nine MLB seasons, which he's split between the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Angels. Since 2012, his rookie season, Simmons has been the third-most valuable defender at any position in baseball, per FanGraphs. In 2013, Simmons won the National League Platinum Glove Award, which is awarded to the top defender at any position in a given league. That type of defender can help to make up for another suboptimal defender, such as Torres.
Heyman does point out that the Yankees are still hoping for a reunion with DJ LeMahieu, who is primarily a second baseman. In some senses, Simmons could be a fall-back option if negotiations go south with LeMahieu. However, Heyman also suggests that it's possible Simmons could be signed to play shortstop, Torres could slide to second and LeMahieu could play first base, at least on a part-time basis. Such an arrangement may lead to the trade of Luke Voit, who is due a pay raise after he led the sport with 22 home runs in 2020.
Gregorius, a former fan-favorite in New York, is also a free agent after a bounce-back season with the Philadelphia Phillies. He suggested last month that he doesn't expect to hear from the Yankees in free agency, and he may be correct - Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors has projected that Gregorius will land a three-year deal, as opposed to a one-year pact for Simmons. Ironically, George A. King III of The New York Post has reported that the Angels, the team Simmons has spent the last five years with, have shown interest in Gregorius.