Free agency has officially opened. So where do the New York Yankees go from here? Well, they'll be championship contenders, obviously. If they can only rework the rotation, find lefties for the lineup, add a left fielder, craft a bench, and play better baseball across the board, they should be OK.
The Yankees will never tear it all down and rebuild from a baseline of dirt, but you'd be foolish to think a few $200 million contracts could paper over all of these roster deficiencies. No. 5 starters always seem to find crucial moments. The biggest at-bat of the biggest game of the year occasionally goes to the fourth guy on the bench. This isn't the NBA. You can't design things so Aaron Judge gets the last shot.
Championships are won with depth, and while the top of the free agent market is fairly brutal this winter (especially in left field), there are helpful names buried beneath the surface who can help the Yankees' championship pursuit -- or at least make the playoffs a fair expectation and add intrigue to the regular season again.
5 underrated free agents the 2024 Yankees should be targeting (and, yes, 1 crazy name)
Adam Duvall, Wherever You Want Him in the OF
The Yankees should've seen all they needed to see when the Red Sox signed this reliable launcher and watched him nearly lead their undermanned roster to the promised land singlehandedly last season.
Duvall shattered his wrist on an early April dive in frigid weather in Detroit, but if not for his premature departure, Boston might've accidentally made the playoffs on the back of a one-year flyer. That's what we call "Living the Dream."
Duvall, who can play center, left, or right if you demand it, hit .247 with 21 bombs and a 119 OPS+ in 320 at-bats. Properly evaluating his season required the Eye Test, though, much like Justin Turner's. If you needed a blast, Duvall would deliver. If you were a three-run homer away from making a game competitive, Duvall would smash the baseball exactly as far as you required him to. It was almost uncanny.
The Yankees might not get a replicant season from Duvall, but even if he were a lesser player than the one who hit a torrid .455 with a 1.544 OPS in April, he'd still be a money fit in an undermanned outfield for ~$10 million a year. Hopefully, they could convince him to take the call while plainly admitting that, no, they wouldn't be willing to move the Green Monster to the Bronx.