Third base options for the Yankees in 2018
The Yankees wasted no time dumping salary in wake of the trade for Giancarlo Stanton, departing with second baseman Starlin Castro (Miami) and Chase Headley (San Diego). Castro will be making $10M in 2018 with the Marlins, while Headley will be making $13M in 2018 with the Padres. Dumping these two contracts offset the cost of Giancarlo Stanton, but it also leaves two holes at 2B and 3B. Read who will take over second base here , and continue reading to see the Yankees options for third base in 2018.
Within the organization, the Yankees have some young, talented infielders. The most experienced being Ronald Torreyes, but he’s proven to be a very valuable bench piece as a utility player, and I’d imagine that role would continue for him in 2018, that is if he doesn’t win the starting second base job. Essentially, Torreyes, Gleyber Torres, Tyler Wade, and Miguel Andujar are fairly interchangeable pieces between 2B and 3B. Miguel Andujar, however, seems that he would stay at 3B due to his mediocre defensive ability.
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Brian Cashman recently noted that he wanted Gleyber Torres to be on the opening day roster in 2017. It is apparent that they want him up to play for good this season, but he projects to be a middle infielder more so than a third baseman. Miguel Andujar saw action in five games posting seven at bats and four hits. While the sample size is small, it sure is exciting to see that he can handle Major League pitching. In AAA, Andujar (below) played 58 games and hit .317 with nine home runs and 30 runs batted in. Scouts are very high on Andujar, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he wins the starting third base job right out of Spring Training camp.
While Tyler Wade struggled in the 30 games he played in 2017, he never really got a chance to play every day and prove himself. He hit .155 with a .222 on base percentage in 63 at bats. In 85 games in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Wade hit .310 with some power, and certainly has the ability to become a good hitter in the Major Leagues. He plays a good infield, and have very good speed, which is something the Yankees as a team lack.
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Lastly, everybody’s favorite Yankee toward the end of 2017 is still up for grabs in the free agent market. Todd Frazier, who grew up a Yankees fan in Toms River, NJ, would certainly love to come back to the Yankees in 2018. However, it is noted that he wants a multi-year deal, and I’m not sure if the Yankees will bite. He will provide power and production in the Yankees lineup, along with a great glove at third base. In my opinion, Todd Frazier is a must-have for the 2018 season. Frazier is a “glue guy” in the clubhouse and keeps things loose during games. With a young team like these Yankees, they could really benefit from his presence in the clubhouse and on the field.
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Outside of the organization, the Yankees have options as well. They have made an offer to the Orioles to acquire all star third baseman Manny Machado. Although it may seem like the haul of prospects would be massive for Machado, he is only under team control for one more year, and I would never doubt Brian Cashman’s ability to swing a star player for little to nothing. However, Machado’s agent is opposed to the Orioles trading him, and it is doubtful that the Orioles will want to trade Machado within the division unless the deal favors them severely. If the Yankees got Machado, however, that lineup would without a doubt be the single best lineup of all time. It already might be. Machado had a “down year” in 2017, hitting .259 with 33 homers and 95 RBI. Don’t assume that the down year will lower his cost, it won’t.
The Yankees have also reached out to Eduardo Nunez about a reunion with the Yankees in 2018. Nunez is a free agent and would probably be a cheaper option than Todd Frazier. Although Nunez’s bat would supplement the Yankees lineup greatly, his defense is a liability. He had -13 defensive runs saved in 2017. However, he did hit .317 overall last season with the Giants and the Red Sox. In a ballpark like Yankee Stadium, he would without a doubt hit more than 12 home runs as well. If Nunez had a glove similar to Frazier (or even Headley, believe it or not) I would say signing him would be a no brainer. He would be the perfect bat at the bottom of a very strong Yankees lineup, but his defense at the hot corner is certainly an issue.
All in all, I would assume the Yankees would look within the organization for a solution at third base. Hopefully, that means resigning Todd Frazier, but if not, Miguel Andujar is more than capable of playing every day. Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner have said many times that they want to stay under the $197M luxury tax, and bringing on a guy like Manny Machado may prevent that. Keep in mind that the Yankees are still apparently “aggressively” in the market for a starting pitcher, along with the desire to resign southpaw veteran CC Sabathia. Today is the last day of the Winter Meetings, so hopefully we get some answers soon.
Article by: Noah Clement