As the Yankees continue discussions to bolster their rotation, they will not lose sight of their second and third base "vacancies."
The Yankees traded Starlin Castro and Chase Headley, while Todd Frazier remains a free agent. This leaves the club with a quartet of internal options - Miguel Andujar, Gleyber Torres, Ronald Torreyes and Tyler Wade - to fill the two infield positions. It can be argued that the Yankees could surive with rookie/inexperienced players, the club has been linked to players via trade (Brandon Drury) and the free agent market (Frazier and Eduardo Nunez).
Those choices point to prospect cost and/or multiyear commitments, something the Yankees may not be willing to pursue. As such, the Yankees might decide - as a last ditch effort - to enter spring training with the quartet, but also an inexpensive one-year, stopgap player to fill either position. Going this route would allow the Yankees some comfort in allowing any of the internal options to gain more reps in the minors should their spring performance demonstrate an unreadiness for the big leagues.
Let's review some options, which are admittedly far from exciting:
Escobar, 35, will not supply the power typically represented by the player manning the hot corner. However, the Yankees are not exactly hurting for power elsewhere in the lineup.
Escobar is a contact machine who owns a career .282 batting average and .350 on-base percentage. He is the type of player that could keep the bottom of the order afloat, but he would be a detriment in the field (-9 defensive runs saved in 2017).
Kendrick, 34, maintains value as a hitter (he hit .315 with a 119 OPS+ combined with two teams in 2017), and he has the ability to play average defense at second base. He is a career .291 hitter, typically tagged with the word "professional" when it comes to his offensive prowess, and he has some speed left in the tank (12 stolen bases in 2017).
What remains to be seen is if Kendrick can play on a daily basis as he was used in a reduced role last season.
Lowrie, who turns 34 in April, represents a different option in that he is under contract for the 2018 season, but at a minimal cost ($6 million). The Yankees would have to dip into the prospect well, but Lowrie represents the best of the second base options in this review. He ripped 49 doubles to go along with a .270/.360/.448 slash line in 2017.
Lowrie's defense is a tad below average according to defensive metrics (-2 DRS in 2017), but would be an upgrade over Castro with the glove.
Remember when Phillips' name came up each time the Yankees needed a second baseman before trading for Castro? Well, he's 36 now and basically the same player.
Phillips hits for average (.285 in 2017), but has a low OBP (.319 in 2017) with a bit of gap power (34 doubles and 13 home runs in 2017). He has failed to break 100 OPS+ since the 2011 season.
Phillips is a below-average defender (-7 DRS at second base in 112 games), who also played 24 games at third base for the Braves last season.
As prefaced earlier, it's hard to generate any enthusiasm about these players, but that's really not the point. The Yankees have to determine if they want to stay completely internal, trade for or sign a player that comes with a multi-year situation, or fall back into one of the players covered above. Sometimes, a low-risk stopgap is the best way to go as it will not hamper the Yankees longterm, nor would it be difficult for the club to move on if a better option becomes available.
We'll see which way the Yankees turn soon enough.