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Which Path Will the Yankees Pick at Shortstop?

With a plethora of high-profile free agents and some top prospects, the Yankees could go a few different ways at shortstop, a glaring position of need this winter.

The Yankees need to do something about the shortstop position this offseason. That much is obvious.

The question is what will they do? There are a number of high-profile shortstops set to hit the open market, but New York also has a few top prospects at the position. Those kids could preclude the Yankees from spending big on one of the top players available—though that’s not to say that they should.

But the Yankees admitted that Gleyber Torres is not the answer at the position this past season, moving him back to second base down the stretch. Gio Urshela took over. That wasn’t supposed to be a permanent solution, despite the third baseman’s affinity for the change.

With shortstop expected to be a prime focus for New York this winter one way or another, let’s break down the different routes the Yankees can take. One caveat to get out of the way early: the uncertainty surrounding the expiring collective bargaining agreement is sure to impact this—and every other major—decision.

Swing For the Fences

Trevor Story, Carlos Correa, Javier Báez, Corey Seager and Marcus Semien are all expected to hit the open market. If the Yankees want to spend big, they will have plenty of choices. Seager is the only lefty of the bunch and is prone to contact, making him perhaps the most intriguing option for a club that has lacked those qualities in recent years.

Correa, meanwhile, is the youngest and recently made some eye-catching comments about New York (pin)stripes. Of course, there could also be some bad blood there. Story was heavily connected to the Yankees around the trade deadline.

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A Stopgap For The Kids

Shortstops Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza are among the Yankees’ top prospects. Both are coming off monster seasons, but Volpe, 20, has not played above High-A. Peraza, 21, has played just eight games at Triple-A. It’s hard to see an organization with championship aspirations handing either the starting job at the start of the 2022 season, or even a month or two into it.

However, it is feasible that Volpe and Peraza’s presence stops the Yankees from spending on one of the top free agent shortstops. Instead, the farmhands could lead to New York adding a stopgap veteran such as Andrelton Simmons, José Iglesias, Freddy Galvis, Miguel Rojas (trade) or Chris Taylor. Taylor is more than a stopgap player overall, but his extreme versatility means he could bide time at shortstop and move elsewhere once Volpe or Peraza is ready.

Status Quo

Torres, Urshela, Tyler Wade and Andrew Velazquez all have experience at shortstop. If the Yankees want to go the stopgap route but think they already have sufficient temporary measures in place, they could simply go with the status quo.

That wouldn’t be recommended for a team with such lofty goals, but the CBA could slow free agency, and outside options on the open market could be hesitant to sign if they know the Yankees plan on going with one of their prospects in the near future.

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Follow Gary Phillips on Twitter (@GaryHPhillips). Be sure to bookmark Inside The Pinstripes and check back daily for news, analysis and more.