The Yankees have a bit of a gap in their infield, it’s no secret. They are working with the Orioles — which I imagine is a one-way conversation — to try and get hold of Machado before the season starts, but maybe the Yankees can look elsewhere for their new starting third baseman?
The obvious name the Yankees could try and sign is Todd Frazier. They know Frazier, it seems like he enjoyed his time in New York and would be more than likely willing to return. Frazier has been achieving double digit home-run seasons since 2012 and providing solid defence at third base. His wRC+ has been slightly above average for the last two seasons (104 & 108) and probably won’t improve much above that in 2018. Steamer has him posting similar 2018 numbers to last year and still being above average on defence. All in all, probably what you expect from a 31-year-old infielder, who can hit for power and has decent defence.
So what sort of contract will Frazier expect to draw?
Spotrac has it at 3 years and $33.7m, this is based on some contract and statistical comparisons.
The other options include Mike Moustakas, Yunel Escobar, Danny Valencia, Mark Reynolds and Jose Reyes. Only Moustakas and Reynolds hit more HRs than Frazier, but none of them came close to Frazier’s defence ability. According to Spotrac, all of them are expected to earn the same or more than Frazier in upcoming free agency.
With the Yankees looking to control their spending — especially when it comes to the next free agency class at the end of 2018 — they will probably have to look elsewhere, unless they can convince Frazier to take an unlikely one-year deal.
There are some options out there for the Yankees, especially with the likes of Manny Machado, Josh Donaldson and Yangervis Solarte being available after the 2018 season. However, those names (Except Solarte) are going to draw quite a haul in terms of players going the other way. So unless the Yankees can cut a good deal for Machado or Donaldson, they should avoid making a trade. Especially with our final option.
Miguel Andujar signed for the Yankees in the 2011 International Free Agent class, he worked with the same trainer that delivered Gary Sanchez to the Yankees. Entering as the number 18 prospect and working his way up to be their number 5 prospect in the recent Baseball America updates he has been an interesting player with an unknown future. He has proven at each level that he can hit for average and extra bases, his power also took a jump as he hit a career high 16 home runs in 2017. His defence however, does have scouts split (as per the BA report). With an above average arm that is sometimes off target — thanks to some questionable footwork — however, SB Nation Minor League Ball rates his defence higher and says it’s only getting better.
But, this could all be moot when Gleyber Torres returns from TJ surgery and completes a rehab stint in AAA. Torres is unlikely to slot into SS if Didi Gregorius continues his excellent rise since his move from the D’Backs, which could mean that Andujar only has 3B until Torres is ready.
Interesting times for the Yankees (With them projected to hit 40 million home-runs in 2018), who could be a front runner in the race for Machado but might not have to. Who said the Yankees were becoming more likeable last year? Lets see if they say that at the end of 2018!
I think I might like the Yankees this year…
— Ben Carter (@UKBaseballBlog) 12 October 2017