The New York Yankees entered 2023 with a left-field void that could've used some external upgrading. Luckily, they opted against signing Jurickson Profar to be that upgrade.
Profar, a versatile player with a solid bat, hit free agency this past offseason coming off three successful years in San Diego. In two of those seasons, his bat ranked above league-average (114 OPS+ in the shortened 2020, 110 in 2022).
Coming off a career year and about to turn 30, Profar declined his $7.5 million player option in San Diego, which would've triggered an additional option for 2024. This was no surprise; as a Scott Boras client, Profar's desire to maximize his payday outweighed his rumored desire to stay in San Diego.
The Yankees were interested, at least to some degree. The Daily News even posited in early February that the Yankees were "running out of reasons" not to sign him. But, as the offseason dragged on, it seemed no one wanted to bail out Profar and Boras and succumb to their financial demands. The Yankees, especially, did not, considering how close they were already to a top-tier luxury tax threshold. Was Profar really the target that demanded that extra stretch?
Turns out, no. What was supposed to be a pillow contract with the Colorado Rockies that allowed him a soft landing in an offense-first environment has instead turned into a nightmare on a second-division team. Profar has subtracted ~1.0 WAR from his Rockies roster, and is hardly an intriguing option at this year's trade deadline, either. $7.75 million doesn't buy what it used to anymore.
Yankees Rumors: Passing on Jurickson Profar Was Wise
Now that the Yankees waited until midsummer to address their left field need, they'll have the pick of the litter, from the returning Joc Pederson to budget options like Jake Fraley, Seth Brown and Nick Senzel (and aren't those always the ones that end up making the difference, anyway?).
Profar was tempting to a certain sect of fans, but in reality, the best-case scenario for his production looked a lot like what Oswaldo Cabrera was already slated to provide. Cabrera has struggled after starting the season in the bigs; Profar has struggled, too, at a far higher price point.
It's best the Yankees sat this one out. If they want to engage on a Rockies outfielder this summer, please let it be Randal Grichuk instead.