From 1996 via 2014, just one man began greater than a mixed 121 video games at shortstop for the Yankees.
In seven seasons since, two shortstops have already surpassed that quantity, with a number of extra also-rans attempting their hand alongside the way in which.
As Derek Jeter prepares to enter the Baseball Corridor of Fame subsequent week, the Yankees’ seek for his long-term successor at shortstop stays ongoing. Didi Gregorius got here first and carried out higher than anticipated earlier than leaving in free company. Gleyber Torres then slid from second base to shortstop, however his protection has typically lagged behind, calling into query whether or not he stays there.
In between, the Yankees hosted Manny Machado on a free-agent go to, tried Troy Tulowitzki as a stopgap on the finish of his profession, have been linked to Trevor Story earlier than July’s commerce deadline and now could possibly be again available in the market for a shortstop this offseason with a proficient group set to hit free company.
After all, Jeter’s longevity and consistency with one staff was one thing of an anomaly. Over the seven seasons since he retired, solely two groups have had the identical one participant begin the vast majority of its video games at shortstop each season: the Crimson Sox’s Xander Bogaerts and the Giants’ Brandon Crawford. Others have come shut, like Astros shortstop Carlos Correa (who performed lower than half of 2019 due to an harm) and the Rockies’ Story and Braves’ Dansby Swanson (each of whom didn’t get referred to as up till 2016, however have locked the place down since).
Story and Correa are a part of the All-Star laden free-agent class the Yankees may faucet into this offseason, together with the Dodgers’ Corey Seager, Mets’ Javier Baez and Toronto’s Marcus Semien. Given Correa’s presence on the Astros throughout their unlawful sign-stealing scheme and Baez’s free-swinging method, Story, Seager or Semien would look like the logical candidates ought to the Yankees select to maneuver Torres again to his pure second base coming into 2022. Seager, the youngest of the trio who has already gained a World Collection MVP and in addition occurs to bat left-handed (which the Yankees want extra of), figures to be essentially the most interesting long-term decide if he will get out of Los Angeles.
Gregorius obtained the primary shot at changing Jeter, an unenviable activity that he dealt with effectively. The Yankees traded for Gregorius from the Diamondbacks in December of 2014 as a part of a three-way deal wherein they solely gave up pitcher Shane Greene.
“Nobody can substitute Derek Jeter,” Yankees normal supervisor Brian Cashman stated after making the commerce. “He was one in a billion. [Gregorius] is just not changing Derek. He’s simply now going to return in right here and clearly compete to carry down that place at shortstop, and help us with Brendan Ryan, and supply some wonderful protection and offense to the again of that lineup.”
Gregorius proved to do extra than simply that. After hitting simply .243 with an 88 OPS-plus in his first two-plus seasons as an enormous leaguer, Gregorius arrived in The Bronx and hit .274 with a 104 OPS-plus in his first 4 seasons right here earlier than cooling off in 2019. He missed the start of that season, his final one with the Yankees, after present process Tommy John surgical procedure.
Gregorius’ elbow subject opened the door for the Yankees to signal the 34-year-old Tulowitzki, who grew up idolizing Jeter, as a fill-in to start 2019. However he began simply 4 video games at shortstop earlier than hitting the injured record with a calf pressure, which he re-injured whereas attempting to return again after which introduced his retirement that July.
Within the meantime, the Yankees had shifted Torres to shortstop after Tulowitzki’s harm and earlier than Gregorius returned. He grew to become a second-time All-Star, thanks largely to his bat, as he completed the 12 months hitting .278 with 38 house runs and a 127 OPS-plus whereas recording minus-three defensive runs saved at shortstop, per Fangraphs.
Gregorius left for the Phillies in free company that offseason and the Yankees made Torres their full-time shortstop. However in two seasons since, Torres’ manufacturing has fallen off together with his bat and glove. In 141 video games between 2020 and 2021, Torres has hit .251 with 9 house runs and a 92 OPS-plus. His protection in that span (-17 defensive runs saved) has led to questions on whether or not the Yankees can be higher off transferring him again to second base — particularly if they will land one of many star free-agent shortstops this offseason.
If not, there’s one other shortstop within the Yankees’ system who may not arrive in The Bronx till no less than 2023 however grew up admiring Jeter. The man first-round decide (2019) and New Jersey product, Anthony Volpe, is within the midst of a breakout season break up between Low-A and Excessive-A and will vie to be the reply down the street — the most recent in a string of them for the Yankees.