Who Should the New York Yankees Eye in Free Agency Next Year?

Ryan Garcia
Oct 3, 2018; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees executive Brian Cashman and manager Aaron Boone (17) talk before the game against the Oakland Athletics in the 2018 American League wild card playoff baseball game at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The 2020-2021 free-agent market is a bit far from now, but there are interesting names that catch your eye. There are some interesting veterans and some star-caliber players hitting free agency next offseason. With the Yankees committed to around $135 million for the 2021 season and the Yankees having a bunch of key free agents they look to retain, who should the Yankees eye in this next free-agent class?

Replenishing the Pitching Core

The New York Yankees will probably not bring back JA Happ if they are going to pay Paxton and Tanaka on the pitching front so the Yankees will have to roll with Deivi Garcia or Michael King to replenish those pitching spots. How about if the Yankees lose two starters? The two starters I see the Yankees eyeing are former Yankee Jose Quintana out of Chicago or for cheap Alex Wood out of LA. Two quality lefties who have solid peripherals and aren’t too old. Wood is also a pitcher who can also be a reliever or starter if need be.

The bullpen class in 2021 is insane, with super relievers like Kirby Yates, Liam Hendricks, Dellin Betances, and Ken Giles hitting the market, with all of them being arguably top 10 relievers in baseball. Landing one of them could vastly improve the bullpen, a factor that the Yankees are already elite in.

West Coast to East Coast?

The Yankees will not be going after a Mookie Betts, let’s just get that out of the way. Barring injuries or Stanton opting out (which is very unlikely), the Yankees don’t need a third super contract on their payroll. This doesn’t mean that the Yankees can’t add in the offseason offensively. The Yankees might not bring back Gardy unless he has a great season, he’s aging and his expected stats show he was very lucky in 2019. Adding a Joc Pederson to face off against righties and play around 120 games could be huge for the Bronx Bombers.

In 2019 with RISP he slashed .274/.383/.600 with 8 home runs in 95 At-Bats. He also has a .239/.326/.487 in October which is very good, because while his batting average is low, it’s a bad stat and shouldn’t be used to judge baseball players. It doesn’t factor how many bases they gain per hit and doesn’t factor walks or HBPs, which OBP and SLG do. He struggles a ton against lefties, but he’d be able to platoon with Andujar at LF who hit pretty evenly against RHP and LHP in 2018.

How Much Will the Yankees Spend?

Regardless of if the Yankees add new faces or not, they will need to break the bank open. Masahiro Tanaka, JA Happ, James Paxton, Brett Gardner, and DJ LeMahieu all hit the market next offseason. It’d be wise for New York to bring back Paxton and DJ first, and then see what to do with the other three. They’ll end up adding around $60 million to the payroll if they bring back a few guys and add a name or two. The Yankees aren’t going to be able to be cheap, but if they’re bringing in 3-4 quality guys with that money then you won’t hear New York complain.