The New York Yankees need to add a shortstop this winter. Former top prospect Gleyber Torres has shown time and time again that he is unable to man the position, as over the past two seasons (since taking over the everyday shortstop duties), the Venezuelan native has posted a -9 outs above average rating and cost the Yankees 7 runs, both fifth worst amongst qualified shortstops in that time frame.
Torres’ offensive production has also seen a sharp decline since making the move to short. Over the last two seasons, the two time All-Star has hit a mere .256, with an underwhelming .703 OPS in 169 games. Comparing this to his first two seasons in the Majors, where Torres was primarily playing second base, he slashed .275, while averaging 31 home runs a season, showing the decline in offensive production since changing positions. The Yankees would benefit from adding a true shortstop, to not only give them an anchor in the middle of the infield, but to aid Torres in returning to the elite offensive player he was just two short seasons ago.
The 2021 offseason appeared to be the perfect time for the Yankees to splash some cash and add a premier shortstop to their roster, due to the quantity of talent there was on the open market. After watching Marcus Semien, Corey Seager and Javy Baez sign elsewhere, the Yankees are quickly running out of options at the position, and may start to press a little bit once free agency resumes.
The consensus top option in Carlos Correa is still available, and should be the Yankees sole focus once the CBA lockout ends. Correa and the Yankees appear to be a match made in heaven due their desperate need at shortstop and Correa’s ability with the bat and glove. Despite the nearly perfect fit, there are many people within the industry who believe that the Yankees may not be able to meet Correa’s financial demands.
It was reported by Jon Hayman that the two time All-Star is looking for at least 330 million dollars this offseason. The Yankees have been uncharacteristically hesitant to spend large amounts of money in recent years, and with ESPN’s Buster Olney reporting that the club is prioritizing an Aaron Judge extension, GM Brian Cashman may think twice before handing out one of the largest contracts in baseball history.
It doesn’t appear that the lure of New York and the prestige of the Yankees will be enough to draw Correa to the Bronx. If another shortstop-hungry team like the Phillies, Astros, or even the Tigers beats the Yankees offer, the Puerto Rico native won’t think twice and will head to an alternative destination. If the Yankees miss out on Correa, Cashman will have watched four of the top shortstops on the open market sign elsewhere, while he remains empty handed. If this scenario plays out, it wouldn’t surprise me if the veteran GM starts to feel the heat and makes a rash decision to bring Trevor Story on board.
Heading into this season, it appeared that Story was going to be the one in Correa’s position as the top shortstop on the market. Through the 2018-2020 season’s, Story had blossomed into one the premier offensive shortstops in all of baseball, posting an impressive .291 average and a .909 OPS during that three year period, while also finishing within the top 15 of NL MVP voting every season during this stretch. Along with his elite offensive ability, Story was viewed as a plus defender and runner, and at just 28 years old, most people believed he would be looking at a monster contract once he hit free agency this offseason.
Unfortunately, Story had one of the worst seasons of his career in 2021, witnessing a huge drop off in his power production, posting an OPS+ of 103. Story also witnessed a decline in his defensive play, committing a career high 14 errors, while costing the Rockies seven runs throughout the season.
By no means is Story bad player. He’s a career .272 hitter and has tallied over 100 home runs and stolen bases during his six years in the big leagues. The problem is that the Irving, Texas product lacks consistency, and for every All-Star caliber season he has, he’ll have an underwhelming year where he looks like a completely different player .
Despite this, there’s a huge demand for shortstops this offseason and with there only being two options left, Story’s value will be inflated. MLB Trade Rumors projects that Story will receive a contract of 6 years, worth 126 million dollars. While this is a substantial amount of money for a player as inconsistent as Story, it’s less than half of what Correa is asking for, and may be enough of a price difference to entice a team like the Yankees to pull the trigger, and make a deal happen.
If the rumours are true and the Yankees don’t want to pay over 300 million dollars to acquire the services of Correa, maybe they look for a more affordable option in Story, and hope that playing in the hitter-friendly AL East will bring more offensive consistency to his game.