The New York Yankees reeled in their biggest fish on Wednesday when Aaron Judge confirmed that reports of his departure to the Giants were greatly exaggerated.
Nobody in the team’s orbit seems to believe that the move for Judge has ended their offseason, with voids remaining in the rotation and left field (and, uh, at shortstop, but apparently Oswald Peraza has that covered).
The team’s budget isn’t endless, though. According to Joel Sherman, the Yankees are still eyeing Andrew Benintendi for left field, but are attempting to offer him a three-year deal that could stretch to four. Benintendi reportedly seeks five — and, based on Boston’s five-year pact with the unproven Masataka Yoshida and Brandon Nimmo’s eight-year deal, he just might get it.
On top of everything, Jon Heyman has reported that Benintendi may prefer to play in the midwest or south, all things being equal, and may not have been wooed by his time spent in New York with the NYC media. It isn’t for everyone, and if the budgets don’t line up, then the Yankees shouldn’t give the 28-year-old the extra years.
Add in the Yankees’ budgetary constraints (Is it $273 million? $293 mil?) and burning desire for Carlos Rodón, a more essential fit, and it would probably make sense for Brian Cashman to pursue alternative pathways to Benintendi. These three options make just as much sense — and come comparable certainty, too, following Benny’s busted hamate bone.
3 left fielders Yankees can acquire who aren’t Andrew Benintendi
3. Jake McCarthy
Sherman’s Friday column took the Yankees’ trade chatter to the next level, specifically citing the Arizona Diamondbacks and Minnesota Twins as potential trade partners (as well as teams the Yanks have already been in contact with).
The Twins have Luis Arraez to offer at second, apparently, as well as Max Kepler in the outfield, whose hard-hit rate doesn’t match his post-2019 production. Kepler’s been a right fielder, historically, and isn’t as good a fit with the Judge-stocked Yankees as the Diamondbacks’ available options would be.
Arizona’s outfield includes top prospect Corbin Carroll, Daulton Varsho and his 27 home runs, budding star Alek Thomas (who spent some of 2022 back in the minors), and 2020 Rookie of the Year Kyle Lewis, formerly of the Mariners. That could leave Thomas as the odd man out (or Varsho, if Arizona is feeling particularly frisky). More likely, Jake McCarthy could be crowded out, considering he wasn’t even mentioned in the previous sentence.
Statcast doesn’t love McCarthy’s quality of contact, but his 23 stolen bases, .283 average, and .769 OPS still could prove valuable. His 98th percentile sprint speed is his only standout tool, but the counting numbers show him as a Harrison Bader-lite in left. He’s no 2022 All-Star, but for the cost of Clarke Schmidt and a lower-tier piece, McCarthy could be an interesting high-contact fit. He’s Tim Locastro with a track record.