It’s never too early to think about free agent targets for the New York Yankees! In fact, judging by the … (checks countless disasters on the field of play) … it might actually be the perfect time.
Next offseason, the Bombers might look drastically different, as we’ll know in about a month’s time whether they plan to encounter a midseason re-tooling or some form of sell-off ahead of an important offseason (featuring a potential Aaron Judge extension).
No matter how many holes they create, though, the Yankees will always need players on the margins, viable veterans who can be counted on to fill out a roster and perform in a pinch.
In an effort to stock the roster correctly … there are several famed Yankee Killers who’ll be on the market next year. At the very least, adding these players would be addition by subtraction from our rivals — though stopping them from teeing off against the Yankees might deflate their numbers.
Of course, this is somewhat wishful thinking, though we’re not advocating for unreasonable moves like signing Justin Verlander for the tail end of his career as he celebrates his 40th birthday. We’re not monsters!
Most of these are incremental upgrades, meant to make the Yankees’ bench look like a championship unit instead of a stashing ground for Quad-A players who other teams would’ve probably shaved off the roster years ago.
If the Bombers are in need of some offensive punch and defensive versatility — and they will be! — they might want to call on these familiar names.
The Yankees could sign these 3 Yankee Killers this offseason.
3. Travis d’Arnaud
If the Yankees aren’t willing to give Gary Sanchez a raise after the 2021 season (the jury’s out on everyone at this point), they might turn to an ex-Met who tormented them a few summers ago with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Factor in Travis d’Arnaud’s recent thumb injury, which has likely decreased the value of his next deal (a one-year pact maybe?), and you’ve got a potential fit.
Against the Yankees in his career, d’Arnaud has smacked six homers in 28 games, his most notable coming as a member of the 2019 Rays. With two on and two out down two, he battled Aroldis Chapman to a draw before finally lifting a home run powerfully into the right-field seats. Brutal way to lose. Would’ve looked much better as a walk-off.
The catcher first hit the national stage during the Mets’ 2015 World Series run, where he hit .267 with a pair of solo homers in the team’s four-game NLCS sweep over the Chicago Cubs. He powered 16 homers in the 2017 season, but lost almost the entire 2018 campaign to injury, appearing in just four games. d’Arnaud again found his footing, improbably (as usual), midway through 2019 with the Rays. Playing for his third team that season, he slammed 16 homers in 92 games, slashing .263/.323/.459.
The veteran parlayed that breakout into a two-year deal in Atlanta worth $8 million annually, which immediately paid huge dividends. His 2020 season was one for the shortened-year record books; he powered out nine homers, hit .321, and OPS’d a remarkable .919.
If he can be had on a one-year pillow deal and a slight AAV decrease ($6.5?), the luxury-tax-less Yankees should be very interested. Clearly, he enjoys hitting in the Bronx.