Yasmani Tomas, a 23-year-old Cuban star, has defected from Cuba. The 6’1″, 230-lb. outfielder was one of the best remaining Cuban sluggers after the departure of Yasiel Puig and Jose Abreu. With his young age and gigantic frame, Tomas figures to be an instant impact-player at the major league level. As a corner outfielder, he may also be perfect for the Yankees.
The Yankees doled out three contracts to three outfielders this off-season. Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Carlos Beltran were given contracts worth over $250 million between the three of them, and yet right field seems to be very…nonexistent. Beltran has spent a large portion of this season injured, and has yet to match his early season success and is hitting just .220 on the season halfway through June. Ellsbury has had his slumps as well, but is a more dependable player. Gardner has been Gardner, even providing some more pop this year. The weak spot is obviously right field.
Right field has become a platoon of Beltran, Alfonso Soriano, and Ichiro Suzuki. This is Soriano’s last season with the Yankees, and Suzuki will most likely not be back after this season either. That leaves only Beltran, two more years, and $30 million to get through. At the end of Beltran’s contract Tomas will be just 25 and will turn 26 going into the 2017 season. That is almost perfect timing for Beltran to come off the books with Tomas getting into his full production years.
His power numbers were low this past season (6 home runs in just over 250 plate appearances) but that was due to an arm injury that he played through. He has been hitting for average and scouts have given him a 70 raw power rank (the scale ranges from 20 to 80). While he may not be able to sign until late 2014 or early 2015, the Yankees should give Tomas a serious look. In fact, the later he signs, the less silly the Yankees look with two expensive right fielders. He will come cheaper than Puig and Abreu, giving the Yankees plenty of room to make the move. Look for the Tomas talk to gear up as he officially gains residency in the Dominican Republic.