It didn’t work out. Instead, the Yankees rolled with Gleyber Torres at shortstop until early September, when they shifted him to second base, moved Gio Urshela to shortstop and pushed DJ LeMahieu to third base.
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A few thoughts:
This jibes with … What Boone had told reporters at the time he took Torres, a poor defensive shortstop, off the position for good. He said that the team had conversations — and even brought it up with Torres — about moving Torres back to second base. Boone said those discussions happened about midseason, which would be just around the trade deadline.
How would it have worked? A Simmons-to-the-Yankees trade makes for interesting “what if?” talk. Ultimately, the Yankees added first baseman Anthony Rizzo, which kept LeMahieu at second base and Torres at shortstop. If the Yankees had traded for Simmons, might that deal have pushed LeMahieu into some sort of timeshare with Luke Voit at first base? Would it negated the Yankees’ discussions with the Cubs for Rizzo and would Rizzo have then landed with the Red Sox, who were the favorites to get him? Simmons had a terrible year offensively, hitting just .223 wiht three homers, 31 RBI and a .558 OPS in 131 games. But he’s still one of the game’s best defenders, and that would have been a huge upgrade over Torres’ glove. Simmons has four Gold Glove awards.
Still a possibility: Simmons is a free agent. He wouldn’t cost much to obtain. And maybe the Yankees can eek a little bit of offensive upside out of him. While he has a career 88 OPS+, he hit .292 with 11 homers and a .754 OPS as recently as 2018. Simmons would be likely only a one-year stopgap. The Yankees have a pair of shortstop prospects rising up the ranks. Oswald Cabrera should start the 2022 season at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Baseball America has the 21-year-old ranked as the Yankees’ No. 3 overall prospect and No. 58 in the game. The Yankees’ most prized shortstop prospect — 20-year-old Anthony Volpe — is likely to start the season at Double-A Somerset. Volpe is ranked as the Yankees’ No. 2 overall prospect and No. 22 in the sport, per Baseball America.
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Brendan Kuty may be reached at email@example.com.