Just about every Yankees fan has wondered at some point this season about the fate of third baseman Chase Headley.
The switch-hitter got off to a torrid start in the 2017 campaign, but has fallen off dramatically ever since. He hit just .165 in May, and is off to a 3-for-16 (.188) start to June. The veteran’s struggles combined with the Yankees’ desire to shift to younger players might just doom Headley’s tenure in the Bronx.
Rumors are swirling that the Yankees are exploring the trade market for third basemen, but there really is not much worth trading for out there. Especially as a rebuilding franchise (hard to believe, I know) that has one of the best farm systems in baseball. It will be interesting to see how long of a leash Headley gets. He sat two games against the Oakland Athletics in favor of Ronald Torreyes to clear his head. Torreyes could start to see more playing time at the hot corner, especially after he hit .313 in the month of April.
There are a few other internal options. The recently activated (but optioned) Tyler Austin has played quite sparingly at third base in his career. Top prospect Gleyber Torres, who is a natural shortstop, plays three games a week at third base for AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He has made two errors in 12 games at the hot corner. Torres is hitting a combined .269/.378/.463 between AA Trenton and AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. A much more raw prospect is Miguel Andújar, who has already committed eight errors at third. He is hitting .302/.333/.492 for AA Trenton. The last real option is Swiss Army knife Tyler Wade. Wade is hitting .296/.368/.442 so far at AAA, but has only logged 55 innings at the hot corner this season.
Headley still has a job for now, but I think the Yankees might have optioned Tyler Austin in the hopes of getting him some third base reps. Austin and Andújar are the two options who are already on the 40-man roster if you do not include Rob Refsnyder (though it appears Refsnyder is trying to get more first base reps over the struggling Chris Carter). If Austin continues his .333/.385/.542 line now that his rehab assignment is over, he might just have a chance at taking over the hot corner until they want to start Torres’s service clock or Manny Machado puts on the pinstripes.