The New York Yankees have a perfect opportunity to land a big-time slugger this off-season, and it could be on a cost-efficient contract.
Mark Feinsand of MLB Network stated that the Yankees are intrigued by Yasiel Puig this past week, and he is a perfect player to inject into the batting order.
Yasiel Puig is drawing interest from multiple teams, per sources. Red Sox, Yankees, Astros, Marlins and Orioles appear to have varying levels of interest.
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) January 4, 2021
General manager Brian Cashman has latched onto the idea that home runs equal points on the board. Heâ€™s not wrong, but when your sluggers get injured as frequently as the Yankeesâ€™ do, it poses a significant problem when your depth doesnâ€™t have that same spark.
In 2019, the Yankees managed to walk away with 103 wins despite losing Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton for chunks of the season. In 2020, Judge and Stanton missed time again, but this time the depth wasnâ€™t able to replicate their same underdog performance.
If Cashman really wants to identify as a home run hitting team, he needs depth that can do the same. Ultimately, itâ€™s becoming difficult to rely on Judge, Stanton, and Gary Sanchez for a 162 game season. Having reliable depth that can launch homers seems to be essential, which is where Yasiel Puig comes in.
Puig is a polarizing athlete, given his questionable presence in the locker room. He has spent time with two different teams, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Cleveland Indians. He didnâ€™t play in 2020, but in 2019, he recorded a .267 average with 24 HRs and 84 RBIs. He played in 149 games, indicating his health and the value he has over the course of an entire season. The Yankees have fantastic coaching that can improve launch angle and home run probability, so he could end up being something special in pinstripes.
Interestingly, Puig didnâ€™t opt-out of the 2020 season, he was simply unsigned. There were reports that he reached an agreement with the Atlanta Braves, but after testing positive for COVID-19, the deal fell apart, and he ended up taking a year off. His lack of maturity has been a focal point the past few seasons, but if thereâ€™s any place that he can mature and see his potential, it is with the Yankees in the Bronx. What a potential deal looks like is yet to be seen, but a one-year contract with a club option for a second year could make sense given his unpredictability.