The Yankees project as a very good team and what very good teams should be doing at this time of year is seeing if there are ways to address areas that could prevent them from being very good. The Yankees accomplished that Tuesday by obtaining Brandon Drury — and they believe Drury can be more than just a safety valve. The Yankees were worried Miguel Andujar might not be ready to play third base when the season began. They also had concerns whether Tyler Austin was quality enough to back up the so-far fragile Greg Bird at first. At worst, Drury is a stopgap for third and first. But the Yankees have much higher hopes than that. They think Drury has a chance to be the infield version of Aaron Hicks — that given a full chance to play he could blossom not only into a regular, but a quality regular. And they obtained him within the parameters that work for them — namely he fits their designs to stay under the $197 million luxury-tax threshold plus, in second baseman Nick Solak and righty Taylor Widener, the Yankees sent prospects they like, but who they believe are behind a group of others better and closer to the majors. Thus, the cost in every way was worth it for the Yankees. In all, Solak plus lefty Anthony Banda and two players to be named later from Arizona went to Tampa. Steven Souza from the Rays and Weidner went to the Diamondbacks. Drury alone came to the Yankees. But that was enough for them. Drury is just 25. He is not yet arbitration eligible, so will make probably in the $600,000-$700,000 range, which works ideally for the Yanks’ luxury-tax quest. He also has four years of control before free agency. He has played first, second, third, left and right for the Diamondbacks during his three seasons. The Yankees scout his best position as third base, where he was blocked in Arizona by Jake Lamb. A non-Yankees personnel man said Drury is a hard worker with power potential not yet fulfilled. He has hit 29 homers over the past two years. The most likely scenario now for the Yankees is that Drury is their Opening Day third baseman and either Ronald Torreyes or Danny Espinosa starts at second. This will allow them not to exert immediate pressure on Andujar and Gleyber Torres to perform and, instead, will let both touted prospects go to Triple-A. The Yankees see Torres as closer to the majors, so he likely will join the big team sooner to play second. But the Yankees think enough of Drury that he might just grab third base, even if Andujar shows he is ready. That would give the Yankees depth and options moving forward. If Andujar comes up and plays third base, Drury can back up there plus first, second, left and right and even DH when needed. He or even Andujar could also become a trade chip in the offseason.
Brandon Drury is an upside play at just the right price
New York Post | Feb 21