Third base is projected to be the biggest problem for the New York Yankees during the 2017 season.
The New York Yankees have done well thus far in their rebuild. Brian Cashman has done an excellent job restocking the farm system, as the Yankees have some of the best prospects in all of baseball.
The rebuild is not done yet, though, as there are still a few areas of concern on the team. The pitching staff has a lot of question marks, as at least two spots in the starting rotation are open. The bullpen has some openings as well outside of Dellin Betances setting up Aroldis Chapman.
Arguably the biggest concern that the Yankees will have in 2017 will be at third base. Incumbent Chase Headley is projected to be the starter, which will not instill much confidence in fans of the team.
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Headley signed a four-year, $52 million contract as a free agent prior to the 2015 season. Headley isn’t a bad player, but that contract has him as the sixth highest paid player at third base and 90th in the major leagues. Headley is arguably outside the top six for third baseman in the American League, let alone the major leagues.
That contract is part of the reason that people are down on him; he just doesn’t live up to it based on his play. While Headley is a serviceable player, third base is projected to be the biggest problem for the Yankees in 2017.
Over as ESPN, Bradford Doolittle wrote up an article breaking down the problem for each team in the major leagues. Third base is projected as the biggest problem for the Yankees, who are projected to have a WOBA ranked 25th in the majors.
Here is what Doolittle had to say about the Yankees’ third basemen.
"Chase Headley is a solid defensive third baseman and is adequate with the bat. He also is 33 and hit only three road homers last season. He never has been a great on-base guy, so as he ages his shortcomings at the plate stand out all the more.The fix: Again, it’s patience. Headley is fine as a stopgap who should remain above replacement. Someday pretty soon, Gleyber Torres will arrive and maybe around that time the Yankees will spend a gazillion dollars on somebody like Manny Machado. For now, just watch to see if Headley shows signs of serious decline."
The Yankees could do worse than Headley at third base. Closing in on 33 years old, Headley’s best days are clearly behind him. But, he has proven that he can still be a serviceable player for the Yankees at the hot corner.
His defense is strong, which is good enough to keep him in the lineup. He isn’t a disaster at the plate, as he slashed .253/.331/.385. He leaves something to be desired in the power department but holds his own at the plate.
The Yankees tried to shop Headly on the trade market but understandably found no takers. With Headley still on the roster and projected to be the starting lineup, the Yankees will use Headley as a bridge option.
The Yankees know that Headley is not in their long-term plans. They have some prospects close to being major league ready and will have to do some shuffling to fit them all in the lineup. Third base seems like a logical place for some to end up eventually.