The New York Yankees are reportedly willing to be patient and hunt for bargains in their search for a new designated hitter to replace Brian McCann.
The 2016-2017 free agent market doesn’t have a ton to offer, but what it does have is plenty of aging sluggers looking for DH/first base/corner outfield jobs. The New York Yankees have been connected to some of the biggest names on the market since trading away incumbent DH Brian McCann, but they might be better off waiting to see what bargains could be had later in the offseason after many of the available positions are filled.
According to Buster Olney of ESPN, the Yankees “intend to monitor and take advantage” of the “flush buyers’ market” for that group of players, comparing their approach to the strategy the Baltimore Orioles have used in recent years of waiting to see which players are left unemployed and willing to settle when January and February roll around.
The Orioles have managed to land sluggers Nelson Cruz (one year $8 million prior to 2014) and Pedro Alvarez (one year $5 million prior to 2016) at a heavily discounted price because they were willing to deal with the uncertainty of not jumping on their top targets of the offseason.
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Many prominent analysts have been vocal in their belief recently that the Yankees were going to use the money they’ve saved recently to make a big splash on the free agent market, signing Edwin Encarnacion, Yoenis Cespedes, or both. While inking either of those guys would certainly be an exciting move, it’s not in line with the approach the team has taken the last two offseasons, so I’ll believe it when I see it.
The strategy Olney discusses sounds more like the thrifty, shrewd new Yankees front office. It is very unlikely any of the premier guys like Cespedes or EE will see their stock fall, so if New York wants to get a good deal, it would probably be in the middle or lower tiers of the 2016-2017 free agent class.
A few guys who offer middle-of-the-order ceiling but may not require huge payouts because of age or injury concerns are Matt Holliday, Carlos Beltran, Steve Pearce, Mike Napoli, and Brandon Moss. None will require more than a two-year commitment at most, and the Yankees could even scoop up whoever is willing to sign for one.
If the club wants to be even more thirfty, they could mix and match with platoon guys like Adam Lind, Dae-ho Lee, Trevor Plouffe, Mitch Moreland, Logan Morrison, and Justin Morneau. That group could also offer a candidate for the vacant Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre first base job left open by Chris Parmelee‘s departure.