The Yankees have a big infield conundrum this offseason, among many issues. Can they re-sign DJ LeMahieu? Is Gleyber Torres’ future really at shortstop? Is Luke Voit more useful as a trade chip? What’s the best plan moving forward?
If you ask Andy Martino of SNY – as Moose & Maggie did on Thursday – the answer to solve all of the Yankees’ infield issues is three-fold: re-sign DJLM, move Gleyber to third…and deal Gio Urshela?
“Counterintuitively, the idea of trading Urshela is to improve the infield defense, which sounds crazy, but it would,” Martino posited. “You have four strong links in the infield, but the weakest link is Urshela. He has the shortest track record offensively, and his defense actually graded out very poorly in the type of analytics most organizations pay attention to. We’ve seen him make some great plays, but his day-to-day defense actually measures out in the bottom 20 percent of the league.”
Oh yeah, good old analytics rearing their head once again here. In his SNY column that prompted Moose and Maggie to have Martino on, Andy mentioned how in the outs above average metric, the entire left side of the Yankees infield is below average – yet, offensively, Gleyber is above average, and still would be at the hot corner.
“You can’t let LeMahieu sign elsewhere, and you want to keep Gleyber, but Gleyber is not a shortstop. His best position is second base, but that’s LeMahieu’s spot,” Martino said. “So how do you do both? Move Torres to another position. What position is available? Third base.”
Of course there are other options – do all the same and move DJ to third and Gleyber to second, or trade Voit and shift everyone over – but in his words, “if you have to do away with an infielder, for me, that guy is Urshela.”
No matter what happens, though, the one thing that is clear to Martino is that Torres and shortstop are just not a match made in heaven…and the Yankees have to know that.
“I think the Yankees are smart enough where, even if they won’t admit it publicly, they have to see what we’re seeing. They are open to the idea of understanding the experiment hasn’t worked out,” Martino said. “You see those plays where he doesn’t know who is supposed to be covering a bag, or where he doesn’t have the range to cover, so they make up for it with positioning. They know they can try to keep making it work, but they also know they can do better, and bringing in a top defensive shortstop would change the Yankees quite a bit.”
Listen to Martino’s entire segment below, and, as always, check out more on-demand audio from Moose & Maggie, or tune in every day to the WFAN.com or Twitch.TV/WFAN livestreams of the show!