It does not appear the New York Yankees were able to accomplish any holiday shopping in the shortstop department as they look for a replacement, possibly long-term, for Didi Gregorius. Gregorius will miss at least the first half of the 2019 season and is entering his free agent season, so it is very possible that he will not be in pinstripes by the year 2020. Of course, he may end up coming back strong in the second half and they end up resigning him, or both parties may go their separate ways.
With Gregorius’ future as a Yankee on the line, there have been quite a lot of talks of signing Manny Machado, one of the most sought out free agents of this offseason. Machado met with the New York Yankees this past week which at the very least solidifies his interest as well as the Yankees’ interest. It is no secret they have the means to sign a player with such a massive asking price, so the Bronx Bombers are in the mix for signing the four-time All-Star.
At the same time, it does not really make sense to sign Machado due to Gregorius expected to return at some point in 2019 and is more than capable of being an asset. It would be wise not to waste Gregorius’ value on the bench, so they would inevitably have to trade him if this signing goes through. With the Yankees should also be looking into other options for shortstop. One option that has been brought up recently is picking up the recently released, Troy Tulowitzki.
Tulowitzki will be entering his age 33 season, but with a track record full of injuries. He missed the entire 2018 season and the last time he played 150 more games in a season was 2009, which was 10 years ago. Once regarded as one of the best shortstops in the game, Tulowitzki is five-time All-Star and has won two Gold Gloves and two Silver Sluggers. He also managed to hit 24 homeruns while driving in 79 back in 2016 before being limited to 66 games the following year.
There may be some upside to Tulowitzki, but the fact of the matter is he has not proven that he can be durable, and he is way past his prime. It would not surprise anyone that he will retire from baseball completely if remained unsigned. However, for Tulowitzki’s sake this would be an opportunity he needs to turn his career around and possibly buy a few more years of baseball. The bright side is that this would not be a permanent replacement as Gregorius should return in the second half and Tulowitzki has proven to be able to stay on the field for at least half of a season, but I would not recommend betting on that.
A lot of people say it would be a low risk signing. That is quite the misconception, since they would be relinquishing an opportunity to sign a more reliable shortstop and they would be stuck with a hole in their lineup and one of the most important positions on the field. Basically, what this means that if the Yankees pass on Machado and do sign Troy Tulowitzki or even if they do not, they will need a back-up plan in mind.