3. Tyler Naquin
We understand if you lost track of the now-30-year-old Naquin the second a single in the gap rolled under his glove and extended Cleveland’s pain during the 2016 World Series, but he’s now floating in the ether with the Cincinnati Reds after spending 2021 mashing right-handed pitching.
Is he a defensive wizard like Brett Gardner in his prime? Uh, no. We’ve covered that already. But he has the speed and athleticism to man center during potential Aaron Hicks absences and he’d cost pennies on the dollar.
Most importantly, Naquin is a lefty bat in a lineup currently reliant only on Joey Gallo and Aaron Hicks to provide punch from that side of the plate in 2022. Last season, he was good for 0.8 WAR in 411 at-bats, but performed well against right-handed pitching, where he received the vast majority of his plate appearances.
The veteran triple-slashed .283/.339/.514 with 18 bombs and 64 RBI in 384 PAs, which made him a … drumroll, please … smart potential addition for a 2021 Yankees team looking to add extra pop on the cheap midseason!
They didn’t figure that out at the time, but still have the ability to import Naquin as a one-year flyer (his contract expires after 2022), and it shouldn’t cost more than … what, one top-30 prospect and a young lottery ticket? Cutting the line here would be wise.