Yankees: 3 free agent standouts NYY clearly missed out on

FORT MYERS, FL- MARCH 06: Enrique Hernandez #5 of the Boston Red Sox bats during a spring training game against the Minnesota Twins on March 6, 2021 at the JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Florida. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)
FORT MYERS, FL- MARCH 06: Enrique Hernandez #5 of the Boston Red Sox bats during a spring training game against the Minnesota Twins on March 6, 2021 at the JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Florida. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images) /
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Joc Pederson #24 of the Chicago Cubs (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /

1. Joc Pederson

Rest assured, the Yankees will not be the only team that regrets missing out on Joc Pederson for their outfield vacancy.

But that doesn’t make it hurt any less.

In need of balance and lefty power in the lineup, the Yankees opted only to keep lefties in their bench outfield spots, re-signing Brett Gardner while carrying Mike Tauchman. Gardner can hack it. Tauchman showed renewed pop this spring, leading the team in homers with three.

But Pederson? Pederson, for just $7 million, could be out there stomping the yard from the left side right now, secure in the knowledge that some injury would surely be gifting him consistent playing time.

This spring, Pederson smashed the baseball, clocking an almost impossible eight home runs in just 51 plate appearances. Are spring stats dogma? By no means. But does everything about Pederson’s power profile indicate his totals would only increase at Yankee Stadium? Yes and yes.

New York got an obvious bargain when Gardner agreed to come back for such a paltry sum, but there’s much less “redundancy” in carrying two backup outfielders when one’s a speedy fielding specialist who can also put a charge into a baseball, and the other one’s instant offense, Raul Ibanez-style.

Pederson is going to be a great Cub, and he could’ve been ours.