The Yankees are currently working hard to put the best team possible on the field in 2019, but they may have to find some alternative options for the infield.
While Brian Cashman continues to stress that pitching is his number one priority this offseason, the Yankees twitter-verse continues to refresh their feed in hope of seeing headlines which read “Manny Machado to the Yankees.”
Not so fast.
Last week, Jon Morosi of MLB Network stated that the Yankees mentioned Shortstop Jean Segura in trade talks with Seattle, before focusing solely on James Paxton.
Source: #Yankees mentioned #Mariners SS Jean Segura in trade talks before decision was made to focus on Paxton alone. Segura’s inclusion in the deal would have all but eliminated Yankees as possible destination for Manny Machado. @MLB @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 19, 2018
What I take away from this is that Brian Cashman is open to finding alternatives at shortstop (not named Manny Machado) while Didi Gregorious is likely out until the dog days of summer. Unlike Manny Machado who would come with a cost of 30+ million per year, Jean Segura would come with four years of control at roughly 14M per year. While it seems as if that shipped has sailed since completing the James Paxton trade with the Mariners, it should not stop Brian Cashman from exploring similar paths.
Should Brian Cashman be unable to orchestrate a trade with other General Managers across the league, it is likely that he turns his focus back to available shortstop free agents. The one problem with this is that after Manny Machado, the next best options include Jose Iglesias, Freddy Galvis, and Jordy Mercer. At that point, it would make more sense to re-sign Adeiny Hechavarria on the cheap, which is not the most glamorous of moves.
All of this leads me to believe that Jed Lowrie is and should be a possibility for the Yankees. While he is not a true shortstop, he is clearly the best available middle-infield free agent at the moment. Yes, this would mean Gleyber Torres would likely shift over to Shortstop as Jed Lowrie has cemented himself as a second baseman since the 2016 season.
However, despite turning 35 next April, Lowrie is coming off of two of the best years in his 11-year career. Over the last two years in Oakland, Lowrie hit 86 doubles, had a career high in home runs (23) and RBI’s (99) in 2018 and had an On Base Percentage (.360) that would have ranked third on the Yankees roster last season.
While the market value for Lowrie should be around 10M per year, I would imagine that the Yankees would prefer to ink him for just one year. As the offseason continues to play out we should get a clearer picture of the needs of this team, however, Jed Lowrie may not be on the market for long.