2. Edwin Rios
Edwin Rios is not the starting left fielder the Yankees are still looking for. He could be the Joc Pederson Lite they’ve always dreamed of, though, considering they never seem to be able to link up with the genuine artifact at the right time.
Rios was Pederson’s caddie with the World Champion Dodgers, and while he’s not known for his defense or versatility — unless “versatile” means “also plays a wonky third base” to you — he’s still the kind of slugging left-hander who could take consistent aim at the short porch.
If Matt Carpenter’s going to depart this offseason, there’s room for a lefty masher in the Bronx, and if that role is occupied by a super cheap Rios rather than Cult Hero Carpenter, it’ll be easier to stash him on the bench for long stretches without the fans demanding more playing time.
After fighting back from shoulder surgery, Rios hit .244 with 7 bombs in 27 games last fall before being left out of the Dodgers’ playoff plans and 2023 roster projections a few months after his return.
He’s no longer young; Rios will turn 29 years old around the start of next season. There may not be a higher ceiling than “scary bat for any late-game pinch-hitting appearance.” The Yankees don’t have many of those (outside of Andres Chaparro) in the upper minors, and considering they let Miguel Andújar roam left field (and center occasionally!) in recent years, they should have use for the recently non-tendered Rios.