The Yankees could pursue Kyle Schwarber, or they could skew differently in their outfield pursuits.
Let’s get one thing out of the way here: Kyle Schwarber can bash, and the “too many home run” Yankees could always use more power. There’s no denying that.
But based on the lack of versatility in Schwarber’s game and the repetitive dimension he brings to the table, we can think of a few fits who are better conditioned to play in the Bronx in 2021 and beyond, even as the smoke here threatens to become a 10-alarm fire.
Bottom line, there’s at least one player who was released on Wednesday who feels like a better fit for the current roster, at first blush, than Schwarber does.
There are also a few free agent outfielders who were already on the market prior to Wednesday’s frenzy who we simply can’t forget about in the Schwarber craze.
Schwarber’s defense is a liability even in the cushy confines of Yankee Stadium. And after battling our personal Clint Frazier demons for several years until he completely turned his game around in 2020, is that really something we’d like to deal with from his new platoon partner?
In our eyes, there’s no reason to hire Schwarber to do Joc Pederson’s job, other than Brian Cashman’s past preferences.
Both men provide similar levels of righty-mashing — Schwarber’s hit 107 homers against righties and 14 against lefties, while Pederson checks in at 121 and nine in roughly the same amount of MLB time (Schwarber missed 2016 with an opening weekend malady). Besides, Pederson’s outfield defense is head and neck above whatever the former Cub can provide.
But perhaps the Yankees are looking for a fourth outfielder who can rotate and play on a more permanent basis? After all, we’re not sure if you noticed, but Aaron Judge and Aaron Hicks tend to get nicked up from time to time. Therefore, doesn’t the more versatile David Dahl make sense?
Dahl would essentially be an upgraded version of Mike Tauchman, another ex-Rockie who sputtered significantly when exposed to big-league pitching in 2020. We’re not sure what was going on there, but Tauchman appeared to develop Greg Bird Disease, where even a center-cut, 91 MPH fastball was a foreign concept to him.
Though he was somehow worth -1.1 WAR in the 60-game sprint (What happened there, David?), we’re just one year removed from his 2019 All-Star breakout in which he hit .302 with pop in Colorado.
We’ve learned by now that the Yankees’ fourth outfielder has to be more than just a platoon option. More often than not, they get heavily involved in regular action — as does the fifth name in the outfield mix. So why not a 27-year-old former top prospect in his first year of arbitration eligibility?
And then, of course, we can’t take our eyes off the prize. The big kahuna who already escaped to our rivals once before in recent years, and is now being eyed by the (gasp) Blue Jays: Michael Brantley.
Luckily, per reports on Thursday night, the Yankees seem to be having the right conversations here, too.
In case the Yankees didn’t learn their lesson the first time they let Brantley waltz to Houston and bring his sweet swing and contact/power combo to another AL contender, it would behoove them to find a way to prevent a marriage with Toronto.
All Brantley does is hit .300 with power, and he’s only entering his age-34 season. Sure, he’s a longer-term commitment than the other names mentioned, and he might be a more difficult fit, but we can’t let him get lost in the Schwarber sauce.
It feels almost guaranteed he’ll go somewhere else and torment the Yankees yet again this offseason, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t stump for him one more time before the die was cast. Just because someone requires longer than a one-year commitment doesn’t mean they’re not worth it.