2 players the Yankees should retain in free agency

Alexander Wilson
yankees, anthony rizzo, aaron judge
Oct 11, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees first baseman Anthony Rizzo, left, and right fielder Aaron Judge celebrate after Rizzo hit a home run during the sixth inning against the Cleveland Guardians in game one of the ALDS for the 2022 MLB Playoffs at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees have a few big decisions coming up in free agency, starting in early November, but there are two of their own ready to hit the open market that they should consider retaining.

While the team is prepared to get a substantial amount of money back from expiring contracts, notably Aroldis Chapman, Zack Britton, and Chad Green, they can easily flip those funds into a number of players who performed well for them in the past. Of course, Aaron judge‘s contract extension may take precedence over others, but letting go of impact players with proven postseason records is never a good idea.

Two players the Yankees should keep around in free agency:

1.) Andrew Benintendi

General manager Brian Cashman acquired Andrew Benintendi from the Kansas City Royals at the trade deadline this season. Benintendi didn’t perform that well wearing pinstripes in comparison to his numbers with Kansas City.

During the first portion of the season over 93 games, Benintendi hit .320 with a 38.7% on-base rate, including three homers and 39 RBIs. He posted a 13.3% strikeout rate and 10% of walk rate with a 126 wRC+. With the Yankees, his numbers dropped quite significantly, hitting .254 with a 33.1% on-base rate, 19.1% strikeout rate, and 9.9% walk rate. He did hit two homers over 33 games and 12 RBIs, showcasing a bit more power from the left side of the plate.

Benintendi was on a one-year, $8.5 million deal, so he may garner a similar contract for the 2023 season, which is one of the Yankees should consider signing.

Considering Benintendi has hit .272 with a 32% on-base rate in the playoffs, the Yankees can use all the talent they can get in that regard, so letting him sign elsewhere could come back to bite him in the butt. He was expected to make a significant impact during the postseason this year, but after fracturing a bone in his wrist, he was forced to miss both ALDS and ALCS.

2.) Anthony Rizzo

The Yankees inked Anthony Rizzo to a two-year, $32 million deal before the 2022 season began. Unfortunately, the deal included a player option for 2023, which Rizzo is expected to opt-out of. He may be looking for a more guaranteed deal with increased money after a successful season.

Over 130 games, Rizzo hit .224 with a 33.8% on-base rate, tying his career high in home runs with 32. He also tallied 75 RBIs, an 18.4% strike-out rate, and a 10.6% walk rate. In addition, Rizzo is also a fantastic defensive player.

At 33 years old, maybe the Yankees look to sign him on another two-year contract with a slightly increased year-over-year salary. Rizzo is not only a tangibly strong player but offers leadership qualities and a strong presence in the clubhouse, which is something the Yankees can’t afford to lose.