At third base, veteran Chase Headley has seen his production absolutely crater since a hot start to the season. Since the Yanks somewhat surprisingly find themselves in contending mode, they may not be willing to abide Headley's struggles for much longer. Reportedly, they'd been close to promoting Torres and installing him at the hot corner. Now that that's obviously no longer an option, what can the Yankees do at third? Let's briefly explore ...
Option 1: Keep Headley at third
The status quo has a certain power, especially in baseball. The 33-year-old Headley's got a line of .244/.329/.364, which is subpar production, especially for a corner defender. However, those numbers feel even worse because Headley's been so bad since thriving in the early weeks of 2017. Since his two-hit game on April 16, he's put up an OPS of .593. Yes, we're playing with end points there, but the point is that Headley's gone over a cliff.
That said ... He's shown some signs of life recently, which could sway the Yanks' thinking. Also, he projects as something close to adequate moving forward. For instance, the Steamer projection system tabs Headley for a line of .250/.332/.392 over the remainder of the 2017 season. That's not optimal production, of course, but neither is it a sinkhole that demands roster changes. As well, Headley's still owed more than $20 million through the end of 2018, and as much as we'd like teams to think in terms of sunk costs, it doesn't often happen that way. Again, the status quo is a powerful thing.
Option 2: Hit the trade market
We're six weeks or so from the non-waiver trade deadline, so the time for deals is nigh. Since the Yanks are still in first place in the AL East -- albeit by mere percentage points over Boston -- they may wind up being buyers leading up to July 31. As for potential fixes at the position, regular third basemen and infielders capable of manning third who are also potential trade chips include Mike Moustakas of the Royals, Todd Frazier of the White Sox, Jed Lowrie of the Athletics, Eduardo Nunez of the Giants, and Yangervis Solarte of the Padres (a former Yankee). Maybe you add David Freese to this list, but the Pirates seem inclined to keep him.
Of these, Moustakas is probably the most appealing, in that he has value in the field and is one of the few who's highly likely to out-produce Headley moving forward. The cost, however, would likely be high, and it's not certain that the Royals will be tearing it down. Frazier's power makes him appealing, and he's indeed been producing better of late. Maybe he's the consolation prize, or perhaps it's Lowrie if you buy into his late-career spike at the plate.
Option: Look within
With no Torres, in-house solutions are obviously harder to come by. However, consider Miguel Andujar. The 22-year-old third baseman is on the 40-man roster and was recently promoted to Triple-A. This season, he's batted an impressive .312/.342/.494 in 67 games at Double-A Trenton -- his second tour of the Eastern League after struggling a bit at the level in 2016. However, he also thrived in the Florida State League last season, so Andujar's 2017 success isn't out of nowhere.
Elsewhere, Triple-A infielder Tyler Wade may be a consideration. Wade's seen time at six different positions for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this season, and despite the dynamic defensive workload the 22-year-old has batted .324/.384/.466 along the way. That's a little out of step with his previous offensive performances, but it's impressive nonetheless. Wade's not presently on the 40-man, so a call-up would require some shuffling.
In the end, place your bets on Headley's keeping the job. Should the Yanks get desperate, though, a deadline deal or surprise promotion might be in the offing.