Very Useful: Yankees Urged to Take ‘Easy Flier’ on $6.9 Million Disgruntled Giants Infielder…..

The New York Yankees made several significant moves to reshape the team after a disappointing 82-80 season in 2023. Despite those moves from general manager Brian Cashman, the Bombers’ infield depth is feeling a little thin at the moment. Should they make a waiver claim on San Francisco Giants third baseman J.D. Davis to get some help?

Scott Rogust of FanSided named the Yankees as one of three teams that “should take an easy flier” on Davis. The right-handed hitter began spring training as the Giants’ starting third baseman. That recently changed with San Francisco’s acquisition of four-time Gold Glove winner Matt Chapman. He was also placed on waivers over the weekend, according to a March 9 report from FanSided’s Robert Murray.

“Bringing in Davis would immediately fill a need as the primary backup at both third base and shortstop,” Rogust said. “This is a Yankees team that has let it be known that they have to win this upcoming season, and have a World Series win as their goal in 2024.”

Oswald Peraza was expected to be the primary backup to Anthony Volpe at shortstop and DJ LeMahieu at third base this season. Unfortunately for New York, he’ll start 2024 on the injured list with a shoulder strain, per’s Bryan Hoch. This injury will shut Peraza down for at least the next two months.

After landing by the Bay at the 2022 trade deadline, Davis has played the majority of his games as the Giants’ third baseman. He had a solid end to 2022 with a .857 OPS, eight home runs and 14 RBI in 158 plate appearances. His first full year in San Francisco was another decent one. Across 144 games played, he hit .248/.325/.413 with 18 home runs, 23 doubles, 69 RBI and 61 runs scored.

Of course, he did this while calling Oracle Park home, which is one of baseball’s most pitcher-friendly stadiums. According to Statcast’s ballpark factors, it’s been the ninth-toughest place for offense over the past three seasons. It’s even harder to hit home runs there — only three other MLB parks have produced a lower home run factor than Oracle.

Landing in the Bronx could change things for Davis’ offensive outlook. While Yankee Stadium’s park factor since 2021 ranks just 21st in baseball, it’s one of the best places to hit home runs. Only Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati and Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles have been more homer-prone.

Adding Davis to the Yankees’ infield mix would certainly provide some more depth. Not in all the places they’d particularly need it, though. He’s played some left field during his MLB career but has spent the majority of his time at third base and first base, per Baseball-Reference. He’s never manned shortstop in a big-league game.

That’s where Oswaldo Cabrera could come into play, though. While he’s bounced around the diamond in more of a super-utility role, his natural position is shortstop. However, his offense is still an unknown at the highest level. Cabrera struggled to a .574 OPS in 330 plate appearances last season. He also hasn’t gotten off to a great start in spring training. It’s included a .043/.083/.043 triple slash through his first nine Grapefruit League games. If the Yankees really needed a shortstop in a pinch, it wouldn’t be shocking to see them shift Gleyber Torres over, as that was his primary position as a minor leaguer.

If Davis even falls to the Yankees on waivers, this wouldn’t be a perfect fit. But with Opening Day less than three weeks away, it’s hard to find a perfect fit when there’s an unexpected injury. Manager Aaron Boone is likely hoping Volpe stays healthy in 2024 like he did in 2023. The 22-year-old suited up for 159 games last year.

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