Black Friday marks the biggest retail-shopping day of the holiday season because of the heavy discounts taken off many goods. Who are some middle infielders on the free agent market that could represent bargains for the Yankees?
The Yankees may eventually jump headfirst into the Manny Machado sweepstakes, but if they don't, each of the players we'll review (taken alphabetically below) might represent credible alternatives to the roster, and in some cases could be added even if they sign Machado.
Harrison has been often linked to the Yankees in trade rumors in the past, and his ability to play multiple infield positions could provide an added bonus. In Harrison's years with the Pirates, he had ups and downs, with his last season being one that persuaded Pittsburgh to not pick up the 31-year-old's $10.5 million option.
Harrison mostly played second base in 2018, which is an area of need if the Yankees shy away from Machado and shift Gleyber Torres from the keystone to shortstop, while relying on Miguel Andujar to play third base. Harrison is a solid defensive second baseman, and the potential offensive upside might be as much of a key to the Yanks.
It's reasonable to believe that Harrison can be had on an inexpensive one-year deal in the $5 million range, though some believe he can net a two-year contract for $10 million.
Hechavarria was a late-season addition for the Yankees and made a solid impact on the club, especially from the defensive standpoint at shortstop. Hechavarria, with good reason, is noted mostly as a glove-first player, as he's hit just .254 with a .290 on-base percentage for his career.
The reason the Yankees could look to Hechavarria is to slot him at shortstop while Didi Gregorius is recuperating in an effort to keep Torres cemented at second base, a position he is still learning. Keeping Torres at second base would be especially important if the Yanks intend on extending Gregorius as he becomes a free agent following the 2019 season.
It should be noted that Hechavarria, who will play 2019 in his age-30 season, could be added as the utility infielder (he's played very minimally at second base and third base) as he can seemingly use his athleticism to help across the infield. Hechavarria could be signed for a one-year deal in the $3-4 million range.
Murphy would represent a bargain in that he won't cost the Yankees 10 years, $300 million to sign. Murphy, who will be 34 years old next season, is one of the better left-handed hitters in the game, and a right-handed hitting dominant lineup is a legitimate area of concern for the Yanks.
Murphy, who could net a deal in the two year, $20 million range, is a career .299 hitter with a .344 on-base percentage and .458 slugging percentage (117 wRC+).
Murphy could play second base for the time that Gregorius is out, again shifting Torres to shortstop and Andujar manning third base. Once Gregorius returns, Murphy could shift to designated hitter provided the rest of the infield is healthy.
Murphy's defense at second base is a major issue (minus-18 defensive runs saved in 2018), but he has played some first base with not as much of a negative impact in the field. That could provide some insurance for the Yankees given it's a position that has been a problem for a few years now.
Once Walker received regular reps due to injuries in the Yankees infield last season, he showed why the club signed him to a $4 million deal.
The first half of the season was much of a disaster for Walker as he acclimated to a bench role, hitting just .197 in the first half. Walker hit 50 points better in the second half, including eight home runs. Walker enjoyed a stretch in which he delivered some key hits for the Yankees.
Walker, 33, is not a great defender at second base (minus-3 defensive runs saved), but he played well at the corners for the Yankees at various times last season. Walker's versatility and familiarity could make him a candidate to be re-signed for a deal similar to his 2018 pact regardless of how the Yankees handle the full-time infield role vacated by Gregorius' injury.