The Yankees are working on bringing back DJ LeMahieu, but if that falls through, Andrelton Simmons would be a strong fallback option.
As we enter the New Year, almost all Yankees fans still want the same thing: a return of DJ LeMahieu to the Bronx. However, there are some indications that that might not come to fruition, and if that’s the case, a strong short-term alternative would be former gold-glove winning shortstop Andrelton Simmons.
Simmons isn’t exactly the biggest name on the free-agent market, but he could potentially be the perfect short-term deal for the Yankees. The shortstop isn’t exactly going to dominate at the plate, but what he’s lacking in offense, he makes up for on defense. Although his defensive numbers this season weren’t the best, Simmons is no doubt one of the best fielders in baseball over the past decade. For his career, Simmons has 191 defensive runs saved (DRS) and a 113.1 ultimate zone rating (UZR)
The Yankees struggled defensively at shortstop this season with Gleyber Torres playing his first full season at short. Signing Simmons would provide a massive defensive upgrade.
Speaking of Gleyber Torres, signing Simmons would give the Yankees the flexibility to move Gleyber Torres back to second base – his original position in 2018 and 2019. This would improve his value and perhaps make him more comfortable, as at times it seemed as if Torres was putting too much pressure on himself being the starting shortstop. Relieving this pressure may result in Torres transforming back into the 38-home run powerhouse we saw in 2019.
Short-Term Substitute for the Yankees
Now, I’m not suggesting the Yankees sign Simmons to be the shortstop for the next 5+ years. Simmons would simply be a filler to get the Bombers to the free-agent class of 2021-2022, which, in terms of shortstops, is absolutely loaded. The shortstops that will be free agents next winter are Carlos Correa, Javier Baez, Trevor Story, Francisco Lindor, and Corey Seager — five of the best shortstops in the sport. Signing Simmons to a one-year pact would be optimal if the Yankees plan on targeting any of those five guys in free agency.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Lemahieu, and I hope the Yankees bring him back as much as the next guy, but losing him wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world, and if that happens to be the case, Simmons would be the perfect player to bring in for a short-term bridge and defensive improvement for 2021.