Yankees: 4 upcoming free agents who can reopen NYY’s window
By Adam Weinrib
As things stand now, the New York Yankees are not winning the 2021 World Series, as presently constructed.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Two months of bad offense means the offense — without a spark — is bad. There are four months left of this. With no underlying statistics indicating a turnaround, there won’t be one.
Pending a deadline addition or two, the championship window is all but closed. But next year? Oh, next year. Without a lockout that wipes out the entire campaign, the Yankees should finally triumph over the (self-imposed) luxury tax and start making winning maneuvers.
(Lockout confirmed. Great. So it goes.)
This bizarre Yankees season has been categorized by a rotation and bullpen that have ranked (through two months) among the best-performing in franchise history, though they obviously haven’t been battle-tested and their supposed No. 2 Corey Kluber has now been sidelined indefinitely.
The offense, defense and base running have been so poor as to essentially take the team out of contention. Left field has been a black hole, and center field was a minefield long before Aaron Hicks underwent wrist surgery. Without Luke Voit for much of the season, production at first base has also been so far down into the bottom of the barrel that it’s covered in barrel residue.
Though Clint Frazier might’ve been handed the keys entering 2021, he can no longer be considered the de facto starter moving forward. Center field has to be up for grabs, too; whether Hicks comes back or not, he can’t be handed a starting role after yet another major surgery, and hasn’t looked the same since Tommy John.
The rotation? I mean … we love it, but are we positive there’s a No. 2 here? This is not to mention Gleyber Torres’ long-term position-less future and the multitude of big names that are breathing down his neck this winter.
As presently constructed, this Yankees team has very little chance of winning the World Series. These four moves — once the cost-cutting measures have been called off — could help them get back to that level quickly, though.
These 4 free agent signings could reopen the Yankees window.
4. Kris Bryant
Quick, before he signs with the Red Sox, the organization his father and mentor played in!
If you’re looking for a left fielder who can also play third and float around the diamond, Kris Bryant, who fixed his ailing shoulder this offseason and was reborn, would be an excellent target.
We must caution you, though: don’t think about Bryant and his Las Vegas best friend Bryce Harper playing together in the same lineup and what they could’ve accomplished in pinstripes. Too fun. Just don’t think about it.
In his age-29 season, KB has posted a career-high OPS+ of 183 thus far, transforming once again into the transcendent slugger he was supposed to be prior to his 2018 struggles and largely-invisible 2020 campaign. He’s in the top 2% league-wide in weighted on-base average, and is posting the highest barrel percentage of his career. The power surge checks out.
If you believe Bryant is a luxury for the Yankees, fine. But “Clint Frazier can handle it” is no longer an excuse. We, too, believe Frazier is better than this, but he’s had more than enough time to show off his legendary bat speed outside of the 60-gamer in 2020, a campaign in which he found himself once again benched for the playoffs.
If a name like Bryant presents itself, you pounce, accept the good player, and try to maximize Frazier’s value elsewhere.