The New York Yankees needed a lefty bat this offseason. They also could’ve used some more definitive outfield depth.
Why? While it seems like they always have too many outfielders, the warning signs were there. Brett Gardner’s mystic 2019 was clearly … an anomaly after 2020. Aaron Hicks’ struggles have been evident, as has been his inability to stay healthy. Clint Frazier, who had never displayed consistency, only had 162 games under his belt across four years heading into 2021.
Something was bound to go awry. In fact, everything did! Gardner is unplayable. Hicks is out for the year after undergoing wrist surgery. And Frazier is among the six worst players in all of baseball — no, seriously. We also skimmed over the fact that Giancarlo Stanton still cannot play defense for whatever reason. It’s forbidden.
And now Miguel Andújar, a career third baseman, is logging everyday outfield reps. Disaster would be an understatement to describe the Yankees’ outfield situation.
It sure would’ve been nice if the front office decided to make overarching impactful changes. Sadly, adding Corey Kluber and Jameson Taillon — both of whom had hardly pitched since the start of 2019 — wasn’t what we were thinking.
A lefty slugger like Kyle Schwarber, who can play an adequate left field — much better than Frazier and Andújar, in fact — and mash from the left side of the plate could’ve truly saved the Yankees. Hindsight is 20/20, but fans were calling for this the moment he was non-tendered by the Cubs. And they were right.
Kyle Schwarber’s torrid streak proves the Yankees passing on him was a giant miss.
Can someone tell us what the Yankees’ front office is thinking each and every year? Schwarber wasn’t exactly a perfect fit, but he was a fit given the Yankees’ needs and the safe assumption that a multitude of injuries would at some point derail the roster and create the need for more quality playing time.
Schwarber would be getting a TON of that right now in the Bronx, and his .253/.337/.569 slash line with 39 runs scored, 24 home runs and 52 RBI could’ve bought the Yankees a handful of wins. Instead, the Yankees are still rolling with an unplayable outfield — both offensively and defensively — while watching Schwarber meet unreal benchmarks in the nation’s capital.
For one year and $10 million, this match wouldn’t have cost the Yankees a long-term commitment and without a doubt could have solved their lineup imbalance. For some reason, there was an overriding feeling that Gardner and Hicks would be more suitable. And, of course, don’t forget about the self-imposed payroll restrictions that forced the Yankees to nickel-and-dime this offseason without making any true needle-moving transactions.
Nobody expected Schwarber to be hitting home runs at a Barry Bonds pace, but it was evident that his addition to a lineup with other capable hitters would’ve helped wake him up after a quiet 2020 with the dysfunctional Chicago Cubs.
The Yankees whiffed on that opportunity, and we’re unsure how many more misses it’ll take for heads to roll.