I read an interesting nugget on NJ.com at the end of the week that thrusted Didi Gregorius into the limelight and a head to head pseudo battle for shortstop with hotshot prospect Gleyber Torres. I say pseudo battle because neither are face to face battling for a position, which Gregorius has held rather well since taking over for our retired Captain Derek Jeter. But...it could happen and may happen even as early as this season.
When the Yankees signed Alex Rodriguez, hot shot Texas Rangers shortstop, Rodriguez said he would move his position from shortstop to third base so that he could be a Yankee. Brian Cashman almost passed on the deal because he was more than satisfied with Derek Jeter's performance at the shortstop.
|Source: The New York Daily News|
We already have Torres but the 19-year-old is not expected to make his debut in the Bronx this season. According to insiders, Torres will start the season at the Trenton Thunder and could see time in the majors in 2018. This is now, but as we all know, anything can happen. This leaves Gregorius with 2017 to impress and solidify himself as the Yankee starting shortstop of the future. "If everything goes right, Gregorius expands on his power, hits at least 20 bombs again, but improves defensively, winning his first Gold Glove by not just making SportsCenter Top 10 plays but by breezing through routine ones effortlessly — and consistently." And this would not only be great for Gregorius but for us as well.
If not Torres, it could be one of many talents we have in place at shortstop. Jorge Mateo, Kyle Holder, Wilkerman Garcia, Tyler Wade and Diego Castillo are all shortstops to keep an eye on as they move through the ranks to the majors. And let's not forget Ronald Torreyes and Ruben Tejada who could get some playing time this season and perhaps make a name for themselves at short.
Bottom-line, Didi Gregorius has to perform and perform at the top of his game in order to not only hold onto his position at short but hold onto a position on the roster. I'm not trying to put unnecessary pressure on the guy, but at the end of the day, it is about consistency both at the plate and in the field and Gregorius isn't there yet with either. Now, 2017, could be his year and I hope it is. But, for all of us, the idea that someone else could snap up shortstop as his own is definitely a possibility. Everyone is replaceable and the battle for shortstop is real. Just something to look forward to as we head into spring training within the next week.
BYB Managing Editor