With the MLB postseason beginning to wind down, it means that the off-season is quickly approaching. This years free-agency market is set to be a big one with some huge names hitting the open market.
The New York Yankees are no exception, as some of their best players, such as DJ LeMahieu and Masahiro Tanaka, are free agents. However, the Yankees could still use a few pieces this winter, and there are some new names they could pursue.
Although Clint Frazier had a breakout 2020 season, there’s still some uncertainty on who will play left-field in 2021. It could be Frazier, or the Yankees could resign Brett Gardner. The other option would be to pursue a free-agent, and there are two stars hitting the open market that the team could pursue.
Brantley, 33, is coming off his second season as a Houston Astro. Prior to signing with Houston, he was a long-time outfielder for the Cleveland Indians.
In 170 at-bats in 2020, Brantley hit .300 with five home runs and 22 runs batted in. In 2019, he bat .311 with 22 home runs and 90 RBIs. He’s a great situational hitter, something the Yankees lack in their offense.
Brantley is also a good defender, racking up 15 defensive runs saved as a member of the Astros.
The 29-year-old Ozuna had an MVP caliber season in 2020, batting .338 while leading the NL in home runs (18) and RBIs (56). He’s shown some inconsistency between seasons, but he could be a risk worth taking.
The only problem with Ozuna can be his defense. He has -2 defensive runs saved in 2020, but on the other hand, won a gold glove in 2017.
His defensive inconsistency could lead to him signing with an AL team, so he doesn’t have to play the field as much. However, if the NL keeps the DH, it may not matter where he goes. If he came to New York, he would have to play the field as Giancarlo Stanton will be the DH most days.
The Yankees have a few options on how to fill left-field in 2021, but pursing a free-agent like Brantley or Ozuna could improve the team the most.