Yankees Mailbag: Can they have all new shortstop, first baseman, and center fielder?
SNY’s Andy Martino will be responding to and breaking down answers to Yankees questions from readers. Here’s the latest…
What are the chances the Yankees have a new SS, CF and 1B in 2022? – @mitchgobertz
Shortstop is an easy one, because Brian Cashman has already said it. We’ve gone over the possibilities before, from Corey Seager to Marcus Semien to Javier Baez to defense-first options like Andrelton Simmons. It’s all on the table, albeit with one eye toward the arrival in a year or two of Oswald Peraza and Anthony Volpe.
In center, Aaron Hicks hasn’t been able to make himself the answer because, unfortunately, he can’t stay on the field. He is signed for four more years, so the Yanks might have to give it at least one more shot.
Because of that, this is the position of the three listed in your question that is least likely to change — but the team has to know at this point that relying on Hicks alone isn’t a sound strategy. While Aaron Judge played a strong center field when pressed into duty last season, that shouldn’t be more than an emergency option.
It remains to be seen if Brett Gardner will hang around another year. He still has well above-average speed, but his overall defensive metrics were not strong in 2021.
As for first base, the team traded for Anthony Rizzo in part to see if he would fit in long-term. If the market is lukewarm for him and the Yanks can get him on a two- or three-year deal, sure. He’s likely to bring the same athleticism at first and elite contact skills at the plate during that time frame.
If he wants more than that entering his age-33 season? Probably time to move on to someone outside the organization.