The Yankees have more infielders than they know what to do with, specifically shortstops.
Ask any fan about Isiah Kiner-Falefa, and they’ll either sing his defensive praises or rant about him being general manager Brian Cashman’s biggest mistake. Mention top prospect Anthony Volpe, and you might get a way too early comparison to Derek Jeter.
And let’s not forget Oswaldo Cabrera or Oswald Peraza, who both turned in exciting performances near the end of the season.
But even with all of these in-house options, the free agent market offers up some prime shortstops. Carlos Correa and Dansby Swanson are still unsigned and will command contracts north of $200 million. In Correa’s case, perhaps he could command $300 million.
The Yankees would almost certainly move either man or one of their in-house options to third base in the event of a signing. Still, the question remains. Should the Yankees look to spend even more after inking Aaron Judge to a nine-year, $360 million deal?
Let’s take a look at the two candidates and then some.
Carlos Correa. Correa would be a great addition for the Yankees for baseball reasons, even if his being on the cheating 2017 Astros irks some. He’s 28, capable of 25-30 home runs a year, and a plus defender at shortstop with a +70 career defensive runs saved (DRS). He spent last year with the Twins and hit .291 with 22 home runs, 64 RBI, and a 140 wRC+.
The glaring issue with Correa is, as always, his health. He’s only played in over 140 games in a season twice. Despite this, the Giants like him as do the Cubs and Twins. He won’t come cheap, but the Yankees would be wise to at least check in on his market.
Dansby Swanson. Like Correa, Swanson has a strong glove with a respectable +16 DRS and +38 outs above average (OAA). Injuries aren’t a problem and he’s recently come into his own as an elite power bat. Swanson also won a World Series with the Braves in 2021. Last season, he hit .277 with 25 homers and a career-best 99 RBI last year.
So where does he go? Aaron Gleeman of The Athletic notes the Twins are interested, and MLB Network’s Jon Morosi also named the Cubs as a potential match. The 28-year-old seems happy to take things slow, so perhaps the Yankees emerge as a mystery team?
Fernando Tatis Jr. Let’s make it very clear now that the Yankees will almost certainly not trade for Tatis this winter. He missed all of 2022 due to a reckless injury and subsequent PED suspension that will cost him the first 12 games of 2023. The 23-year-old’s arrogance has also caused rifts with his teammates in San Diego. Only 12 years and $324 million remain on his heavily backloaded contract.
Yet, could Cashman have something brewing before he waves the magic trade wand? ESPN Radio’s DiPietro & Rothenberg claimed to have heard over the weekend that the Yankees were in on Tatis. This would make sense since the Padres just signed another shortstop, Xander Bogaerts, to an equally ridiculous contract. Additionally, Yankees play-by-play man Michael Kay said on his radio show that New York was looking at signing pitcher Carlos Rodon and “something even bigger.”
This could be something or it could be nothing. If the Yankees traded for Tatis, they could give up next to nothing since Padres GM AJ Preller would have to sell low. There’s also the risk in trading for Tatis since he’d be bringing his celebrity with him. Even so, this would be the biggest Yankees trade since Alex Rodriguez and Cashman would be foolish to at least not inquire about Tatis.