Cashman: Yankees Will Stick with Internal Outfield Options for 2017


The New York Yankees will not seek outside help this winter to address their outfield picture for 2017 and beyond according to GM Brian Cashman.

A number of the New York Yankees crop of young, promising outfielders have had disappointing seasons in 2016, but don’t expect the team to bring in reinforcements. General manager Brian Cashman told Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball that the team has no plans to bring in any outfield help this winter.

Rookie starting rightfielder Aaron Judge has hit just .178/.247/.329 with 37 strikeouts in his first 81 big league plate appearances. The team has been patient with the big man, especially considering they are in a playoff race, but it isn’t crazy to start thinking about a backup plan for next year if Judge needs more seasoning in the minors.

Probably next in line at this point is Aaron Hicks, who is currently on the 15-day disabled list with a hamstring injury. However, Hicks hasn’t been all that much better at the plate than Judge in 2016. The 26-year-old former first rounder put up an ugly .213/.273/.330 slash line in 320 plate appearances with the Yankees, but he was starting to heat up in August before being sidelined. 

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Cashman named Triple-A outfielders Clint Frazier and Mason Williams as two other possibilities for 2017 big league jobs. Frazier is ranked New York’s number one prospect by MLB Pipeline after coming over from the Cleveland Indians in the Andrew Miller trade. It is worth noting however, that Frazier has struggled to adjust since his July promotion to the International League, batting only .230/.271/.385 in 129 Triple-A plate appearances this year.

Cashman made it sound like Frazier could easily hit his way into an MLB job next season, much in the same way Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge, and Tyler Austin did this year. “When you have that type of talent, you can come quickly,” Cashman told Heyman.

Although undeniably talented, the 25-year-old Williams comes with his own set of question marks. He missed the majority of 2016 with a shoulder injury, although he hit a solid .296/.313/.376 in 138 PA for Scranton Wilkes-Barre upon his return.

The struggles of some of the kids might mean that the jobs of veterans Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury might be more secure than many anticipated. Neither has been lighting the world on fire this year, but they are more or less average regulars at this point. Gardner especially has seen his name repeatedly surface in trade rumors since last winter, but if the Yankees plan to contend in 2017, they may be better off keeping him.

Next: Six Biggest Breakouts in Yankees Minor League System in 2016

Given the number of MLB-ready outfielders New York has in the system, it’s not a surprise that Brian Cashman isn’t looking to bring in any more for next year. Still, there are plenty of question marks surrounding pretty much all Yankees outfielders going into 2017.