3 intriguing non-tendered players Yankees should explore signing

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WASHINGTON, DC – MAY 24: Edwin Rios #43 of the Los Angeles Dodgers bats against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on May 24, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) /

2. Edwin Ríos

The other Dodger is a better positional fit for the Yankees, as well as much less of a high-profile reclamation project.

If the Yankees sign Cody Bellinger and they can’t figure him out, both player and team will hear about it all year long. If the Yankees give power-hungry Edwin Ríos a chance as a backup third baseman/slugging outfield option off the bench, he’ll either boom like Matt Carpenter or disappear into the twilight.

Back in 2020, the 26-year-old Ríos was an essential piece of the Dodgers’ operation, posting a .946 OPS in 83 regular-season plate appearances (obviously very few) before also launching a pair of NLCS homers. After shoulder surgery sidelined him in 2021, Ríos returned to slug seven homers in 27 games down the stretch, good enough for a 114 OPS+ in limited time.

Slowed by injury issues, Ríos isn’t quite the limber third base option he once was, mostly DHing in 2022 after coming back to help the Dodgers mount a heftier attack. It’s unclear if a full offseason of strength training will allow him to fulfill his potential and play the field, but his mutant power alone is worth the Yankees poring over his resumé.

The Bellinger corollary applies here too, though. If the Dodgers were willing to cut bait on Ríos, especially in an offseason filled with so much turmoil, what exactly does that mean?