Riddle me this, I can't see too well ... is it a good thing that multiple players the Yankees relied upon for significant contributions in 2023 received so little MLB interest after being cut loose that they both decided to cash in overseas instead?
Ironically, the Yankees have lost two players off their roster in as many days to the same Japanese team, the Seibu Lions. If any Yankee fan is looking for a new NPB team, may we suggest ... literally any team other than the Seibu Lions?
At this November's non-tender deadline, the Yankees surprised many by ... well, by cutting dead weight instead of trying to rationalize retaining every member of an 82-80 roster. Jake Bauers was flipped to Milwaukee for two prospects, one of whom currently ranks No. 29 on MLB Pipeline's new Yankees Top 30. Lou Trivino, rehabbing from Tommy John and borderline non-participatory for 2024, was cut loose. So was Anthony Misiewicz, a rarely used lefty who made a September cameo.
And then there was Albert Abreu, the project with the 99 MPH straight fastball who was so beloved by Brian Cashman that he went out and picked him up during the summer of 2022 after trading him away in the spring. Abreu never got right for more than a week or so at a time, posting subpar numbers at the end of an extremely long leash. A 3.16 ERA in 22 games with the Yankees in 2022 was more than enough to convince Cashman to carry him throughout 2023, despite a 4.73 mark in 59 innings, mixed with very few blips of confidence.
Naturally, when Seibu offered him big bucks after the Yankees' gracious non-tender, he jumped all over it.
Yankees lose Albert Abreu to Seibu Lions after non-tender
And, when he reports, he'll see another familiar face overseas.
Franchy Cordero, whom the Yankees picked up just after Opening Day last year seemingly specifically to annoy Estevan Florial, also signed with the very same Seibu Lions on Thursday. Cordero's prodigious power should play -- what's the word -- bonkers in Japan, but he couldn't make nearly enough contact to be a viable MLB player.
And yet ... the Yankees still ran him out there. In the outfield. Over and over again, in the hopes that he'd run into one. Sometimes he did! Often, nope.
MLB players have found exiling themselves to Japan and Korea fruitful in recent years, with also-ran pitchers like Merrill Kelly and Erick Fedde altering their arsenals and charting a return to MLB.
Perhaps Abreu and Cordero go this route, but it feels far more likely that the slugger instead becomes a folk hero in Japan, leaving the flamethrowing righty searching for his next MLB opportunity alone.
Best of luck to the both of them, but ... man, these were core Yankees last summer. What were we doing?