It seems as if the New York Yankees are getting further and further away from signing a big shortstop free agent to plug a position of weakness for the 2022 season and beyond. With the lockout still underway and both sides of the table struggling to put together a new economic plan, the Yankees are sitting in limbo, waiting for an opportunity to strike.
Prior to the lockout, MLB teams spent over $1 billion bringing in new talent, but the Yankees didn’t partake in the lucrative spree. However, that doesn’t mean they won’t be active during the second portion of free agency, especially with names like Carlos Correa and Freddie Freeman still on the board.
According to Jon Heyman of the MLB Network, the Yankees are expected to make a significant run at Atlanta Braves star first baseman, Freddie Freeman.
The Yankees are expected to take a run at Freddie Freeman, who they love. Though 1B isn’t their real need, they’d love to fit one of the game’s best lefty hitters into their lineup. With the Braves not quickly wrapping up their star, all are options are on the table for Freeman.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 5, 2022
Freeman is expected to land a contract in the realm of six years, $150+ million. He rejected a five-year, $135 million deal from Atlanta, which could mean the end of their pursuit after winning a World Series and connecting with the Oakland Athletics on first baseman Matt Olson.
With reports indicating the general manager Brian Cashman is unwilling to sell his top young prospects, spending money seems like the most likely scenario. This past season, Freeman had one of the best years of his career, hitting .300 with 31 homers, 83 RBIs, and a career-low 15.4% strike-out rate.
The Yankees would love to have Freeman in their batting order, who could hit 40+ homers in Yankee Stadium after launching 38 in Atlanta back in 2019.
Freeman recorded a 45.7% hard-hit rate this past year and connected with his barrel on 11.5% of contact. His exit velocity hovered around 91.4 mph with a max of 113.6, the highest over his 11-year career in the big leagues.
The major concern for the Yankees would be regression with age, but at 32 years old, the team could depend on him to be their first baseman for six years easily. Given first basemen aren’t expected to be the most physically athletic players on the field, Freeman will have the luxury of the short right porch in Yankee Stadium and being with a team that realistically competes for playoff contention every year.
The question is, is Cashman willing to spend big on a first baseman? A position he has neglected with his checkbook in the past.