The New York Yankees, specifically their general manager Brian Cashman, have not been shy about their intentions of adding at least one left-handed bat. From a roster construction standpoint, it makes sense for the team to have that option.
“If I can find a way to balance out and incorporate some left-handed, quality bats to balance this out, I think that’s optimal,” the Yankees general manager said in December on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM’s The Front Office.
So far, besides re-signing infielder DJ LeMahieu, most of the Yankees’ adds this offseason have been on the pitching side. They signed Corey Kluber, they also added Jhoulys Chacin and Asher Wojciechowski for depth.
But as Cashman stated, a left-handed bat would be welcomed. Most of the Yankees’ best hitters are righties: Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Luke Voit, Gleyber Torres, Gary Sanchez, LeMahieu, and Gio Urshela are all right-handed.
A left-handed hitter would also, theoretically, take advantage of Yankee Stadium’s short right field porch.
Two cheap options for the Yankees
One hitter they could consider is Jay Bruce. A free agent, he is 33 years old and wasn’t good in 2020, slashing .198/.252/.469 with a .297 wOBA and an 83 wRC+ in 32 games and 103 plate appearances.
However, back in 2019 though (a larger sample size), he slashed .216/.261/.523 with a .319 wOBA and a 98 wRC+ in 98 games and 333 plate appearances.
In 2020, Bruce lifted the ball in 45.8 percent of his connection, and he had a pull rate of more than 50%. If the Yankees can live with the low-average, he could make sense if he comes on the cheap.
Another potential lefty bat is Daniel Murphy. He, too, had a bad 2020, with a .236/.275/.333 line and a 44 wRC+. But he’s a career .296/.341/.455 batter that could be a good fit if he’s willing to accept a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training. It makes sense to bring him on the cheap to see if he has anything left in the tank.