3 sneaky left field options Yankees can still pursue to fill vacancy
2. Austin Slater
Adding both Mitch Haniger and Arson Judge could end up squeezing Austin Slater out of the outfield rotation in San Francisco.
At the moment, Mike Yastrzemski, Michael Conforto and Haniger make up the Giants’ outfield picture, with Joc Pederson at DH. Though the team once had grand plans of adding both Aaron Judge and Brandon Nimmo to the fray, even their modest offseason haul left Slater’s future in the Bay uncertain, after a solid season spent mostly in center field in 2022.
Last season, Slater posted 1.3 bWAR and a 119 OPS+ in just 277 at-bats, hitting .264 with a .366 OBP and .774 OPS. In other words, he’s a far more proven commodity than the “prospect and a dream” names that have been thrown out in the left field search since Benintendi signed on the dotted line.
Which player would you rather employ as one of the final pieces to a title-winning puzzle in 2023? Alek Thomas, while crossing your fingers that he uncovers his “Top 100 Prospect” potential? Or Slater, one of many gems the Giants uncovered (in 2020) and a player who hit his stride/was further unlocked in a full-time role last season, following a league-average 2021 campaign?
Maybe Slater splits reps with Hicks/Cabrera in left and serves as Harrison Bader insurance in center, but his MLB profile — to this point — screams “winning player.” See what you’d have to surrender for him.
Or, you could go “bigger” with a relative unknown, plucked from a team you’ve traded with recently.