The Yankees entered the offseason unsettled at shortstop, with Gleyber Torres not assured of staying at the position next year.
Shortly after they were knocked out of the playoffs, general manager Brian Cashman said, “We’re gonna evaluate all circumstances that best fit us. [Torres] is currently our shortstop. We think he’s capable of better defense.”
Perhaps he is, but in the meantime, the Yankees will explore other options, including Andrelton Simmons. Not surprisingly, the 31-year-old free agent was discussed in their organizational meetings and, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, the team has been in contact with the free agent.
Simmons is known for superb defense, but he’s coming off three left ankle sprains over the past two seasons and played in just 30 games this past season with the Angels before opting out due to COVID concerns.
Though Simmons would be a significant upgrade over Torres at short, he hasn’t provided much at the plate — especially over the last two seasons. Still, Simmons should receive interest from around the league — including from the Phillies.
“I know what I bring to the table,’’ Simmons said in September. “This year, I hurt my ankle again. Not playing at 100 percent hurts what I can do, but I know what I’m able to bring to the table every day. If it’s experiences, if it’s just being aware of what’s going on, if it’s making plays, I know what I can do. I know how to do it. I have no doubt in my mind I can play for a long time.”
If Simmons was to come to The Bronx, it would allow Torres to shift back to second base. DJ LeMahieu is also a free agent and is expected to reject the Yankees’ $18.9 million qualifying offer by Wednesday’s deadline. The Yankees would clearly like to keep LeMahieu in The Bronx after two terrific seasons and he could play first, second or third base.
Simmons is among a group of available shortstops the Yankees could pursue, along with ex-Yankee Didi Gregorius and Marcus Semien. Cleveland has also notified teams it intends to trade star shortstop Francisco Lindor before Opening Day. Lindor will cost prospects, in addition to being due over $20 million in arbitration before he is eligible to hit free agency following next season.