There are a lot of talented free agents this offseason because… well, because it’s always like this: Cy Young winners, postseason MVPs, and World Series champions. Even the best teams have spaces to fill, decisions to make, and money to spend. But of all the jobs available right now, the most attractive of all is New York Yankees shortstop, Derek Jeter’s old position.
That’s the most glamorous position in the Yankees right now. It was once center field, because that’s where Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle played. DiMaggio, whose Yankees won nine World Series, was the face of the team at the time, and then Mantle was in the 1950s and 1960s as his Yankees won seven Fall Classics. Almost 30 years after Mantle’s retirement, Jeter arrived and instantly became the face of the franchise and the most popular Yankee of his generation. His club won five rings.
The Yankees are still looking for a star to fill their position, seven years after his retirement. Didi Gregorius gave them several good years there. This season they had Venezuelan Gleyber Torres there, better prepared to play second base, and then Colombian Gio Urshela moved from third to shortstop. So the Yankees didn’t have anything close to a star at short stops, and they didn’t have anything close to a star in center field, by the way.
But now general manager Brian Cashman has several options in free agency, where there is an extraordinary group of shortstops, and he has made it clear that his plan is to sign one of them.
“Ultimately, shortstop is an area of need,” Cashman said the same day the club announced manager Aaron Boone’s new three-year contract. “That has to be solved.”
Now is a good time to fix that and turn what was an obvious weakness for Cashman’s Yankees in 2021 into a strong point. (The Yankees probably played their best baseball when a Bronx-born boy, Andrew Velázquez, covered shorts.) People want to know where Max Scherzer is going to end up, of course. But the big focus this time around is on the shortstop position. And boy do the Yankees need a good one. Or even a great one.
Corey Seager is available. It was the MVP of the World Series for the Dodgers in 2020. He will turn 28 on April 27. Puerto Rican Carlos Correa will be 27 on Opening Day. His Astros have played three of the last five World Series and in 2020 came within one win of beating the Rays in the Championship Series and advancing to another October Classic.
Many think that Seager, a left-handed slugger to whom that short wall in Yankee Stadium’s right field would surely seem like a dream, is the name that is at the top of the Yankees list, just like Gerrit Cole was when he converted. as a free agent after the 2019 season and the Yankees gave him a $ 324 million contract. Seager is the boy who accomplished that impressive feat by winning the SCLN MVP and the World Series when the Dodgers were crowned in 2020.
In terms of age and postseason experience, he and Correa seem like the best candidates. But both have spent quite a bit of time on the disabled list. Seager missed most of 2018 with an elbow injury. This year he played just 95 games for the Dodgers, losing a lot of time after being hit with a broken hand from a ball in May. Correa, who has dealt with back problems in the past, played just 75 games in 2019, 110 the year before and 109 in 2017, the year the Astros won the World Series from the Dodgers.
Correa played 148 games in 2021. But it was Semien who was a horse for the Blue Jays, playing all 162 games for a team that battled until the final day of the season to reach the postseason. Semien also played all 162 games for Oakland in 2019 and 159 the year before.
One of them is going to end up with the Yankees. The best job available, if you ask me. The Yankees aren’t looking for another Jeter. There will be no other like him. And they have more holes to cover, not just the shorts. But need No. 1 is there. In the space at Yankee Stadium that once ranked No. 2. (MLB in Spanish)