Gleyber Torres is out at shortstop and Gary Sanchez’s future is uncertain behind the plate.
Instead of being trusted parts of the Yankees’ core, both will be under scrutiny, with Brian Cashman saying Tuesday that the Yankees will be in the market for a new shortstop this offseason after the team shifted Torres back to second base in the final month of the regular season.
“The bottom line is shortstop is an area of need and we have to address it,’’ the general manager said on a Zoom call, as the team announced Aaron Boone would be back as manager. “Gleyber is best served at second base, in reality.”
The Yankees acknowledged the error in September, rearranging the infield, with Gio Urshela shifting from third base to short and DJ LeMahieu moved from second to third, with Anthony Rizzo at first base.
Cashman added he tried to trade for a shortstop in July, but “failed in that endeavor.”
He’ll have plenty of options now.
While Cashman didn’t get into how the Yankees would pursue a new shortstop, there will be a premier free-agent class at the position available, including Carlos Correa, Javier Baez, Marcus Semien and Corey Seager.
They could also acquire a cheaper stopgap while waiting on a pair of top prospects, Oswald Peraza and Anthony Volpe. Both are at least a year away and questions remain about Peraza’s bat and whether Volpe will stick at shortstop in the majors.
The Yankees made a sizable bet on Torres being able to play shortstop, signing DJ LeMahieu to a six-year, $90 million deal last offseason with the idea that LeMahieu would be at second and Torres at short.
Sanchez’s fate isn’t as certain, because the Yankees figure to owe him over $7 million in arbitration this offseason and his results continue to be inconsistent.
Asked if Sanchez was the Yankees’ catcher, Cashman responded, “We’ll see.”
Cashman said Sanchez “definitely came a long way defensively with a lot of hard work put in.”
But the GM admitted Sanchez “tailed off towards the end” of the season on defense.
“He’s one of the best offensive catchers in the game,’’ Cashman said. “We have to evaluate the marketplace at every position.”
Sanchez bounced back from a brutal 2020, ending up with an OPS of .730. The Yankees have praised his pitch-framing ability, but more was expected from him at the plate.
And despite their words, the fact is Sanchez has started just two of the Yankees’ last eight postseason games, with Kyle Higashioka starting five games in 2020 and the wild-card game in Boston this season, when he caught Gerrit Cole.
“I know the results might not be there,” Cashman said of Sanchez, “but I’m proud of him. He’s a guy with a lot of heart, care and effort. If something happens, it blows up.”
Cashman pointed specifically to shortstop, catcher and center field, where Aaron Hicks missed most of the season following wrist surgery, as positions that will be evaluated this offseason.
The GM added Hicks is expected to be fully healthy by next month.