The New York Yankees have a significant number of moves they need to make this off-season to bolster the roster. Notably, they need a new left fielder, bullpen support and still haven’t determined Aaron Judge’s future yet.
Judge is currently on the West Coast discussing a possible move to the San Francisco Giants, which certainly has the Yankees on edge. Supplementing his loss is impossible, but they have a few backup plans in mind in case they need to spend elsewhere.
While the roster needs ample support, the team has a few exciting young pieces preparing to make a big impact in 2023. Of course, Oswald Peraza and Anthony Volpe competing at shortstop will be an exciting battle, but the emergence of Oswaldo Cabrera may provide even more value moving forward.
- Yankees still have a big starting pitching decision to figure out
- Yankees can still land top remaining free-agent left-fielder if asking price comes down
- Yankees settle with Gleyber Torres on one-year deal, avoiding arbitration
The Yankees have a secret weapon in Oswaldo Cabrera:
Cabrera played in 44 games for the Yankees this past season, hitting .247 with a 31.2% on-base rate, including six homers and 19 RBIs. He featured a 25.7% strikeout rate and an 8.8% walk rate with a 111 wRC+.
Offensively, the switch hitter showcased quality, despite being a bit streaky as a rookie. His postseason contributions were limited — he hit .071 with a 10.3% on-base rate, but expectations were thin, to begin with, during competitive elimination rounds.
In the month of September, Oswaldo experienced his best stretch of offensive play. He hit .259 with a 33.3% on-base rate, a .494 slugging percentage, five homers, and 16 RBIs with 10 walks and 27 strikeouts. He stole all three of his bases during September as well, showcasing his aggressive nature. In fact, he enjoyed a seven-game stretch of consecutive hits at the end of the month, dominating the AL East against Boston, Toronto, and Baltimore.
Defensively, Cabrera displayed his value, having never played in the OF before. He featured in 278.2 innings in the outfield, accruing nine defensive runs saved above average and one out above average. He played the majority of his time in right field but also made an impact in left and experienced a few games at second base and shortstop.
In fact, there is a solid argument to make that Oswaldo should be the Yankees’ super-utility option. General manager Brian Cashman is still looking for a new left fielder, which would shift Cabrera into a utility role, allowing him to play wherever needed, which is a great problem to have if your manager Aaron Boone.
This would effectively allow Boone to keep DJ LeMahieu at one position and serve as the backup first baseman. Instead of shifting his position all around the infield, DJ may be able to take over for Gleyber Torres at second base if traded. Alternatively, he could shift over to the hot corner if Anthony Volpe is ready to make the transition to the big leagues and loses the position battle at SS.
Nonetheless, Cabrera seems to be a perfect secret weapon for the Yankees, with his ability to play both the infield and outfield, supplementing any injuries. The great part about that quality is that he will be an everyday player, given the Yankees’ desire to limit workloads to preserve health for the playoffs.