The Yankees will have a new shortstop in 2022.
Who that will be or how they will be added to the roster remains to be seen, but Brian Cashman left no doubt that a different face will occupy the position next season. “The bottom line is that shortstop is an area of need,” the general manager said Tuesday. “We have to address it.”
Cashman’s comments came in a Zoom press conference that took place shortly after it was announced that Aaron Boone would return as New York’s manager. However, it didn’t take long for the subject to change and for the questions to focus on the organization’s offseason plans.
Cashman was blunt about the Yankees’ need for a shortstop, as well Gleyber Torres’ poor fit there over the last two seasons. Torres was removed from shortstop and returned to second base in mid-September after persisting defensive woes. Third baseman Gio Urshela took over at short at that point.
Cashman called the decision a “concession.”
“Gleyber is best served at second base, in reality,” Cashman said. “We’ll see where that takes us.”
Cashman said that New York’s entire roster will be evaluated and noted that changes could come via free agency or the trade market. Star shortstops Trevor Story, Carlos Correa, Javier Báez, Corey Seager and Marcus Semien are all set for free agency, as are several veterans who fit a stopgap mold. The Yankees have two highly touted shortstop prospects in Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza, but neither is above 21 years old.
Volpe has not played above High-A. Peraza has played just eight games at Triple-A.
Cashman specifically noted that the Yankees need to improve at shortstop from “a defensive standpoint.” Torres made 18 errors at short in 2021 while recording -9 outs above average. He also recorded -10 DRS and a -2.6 UZR.
Torres also posted pedestrian offensive numbers, though he was a .300 hitter in 19 games following the position switch. He is among the Yankees’ 19 arbitration-eligible players this winter.
Cashman tried to upgrade the position at the trade deadline last summer. The Yankees were heavily linked to Story, but no shortstop was ever acquired. Now the general manager will try to rectify that this offseason.
“I failed at that endeavor there,” Cashman said. “Obviously, I have another crack at that this winter, and we’ll see where it takes us.”