The New York Yankees have been taking a far more conservative and patient approach filling the vacant left field position. Despite management actively promoting Aaron Hicks as a potential starting solution, it is no secret they have been scouring the market for additional pieces, with the latest being Jurickson Profar.
Profar is an intriguing player, spending the last three seasons with the San Diego Padres. He’s coming off a three-year, $21 million deal, but the team elected to accept his buyout option, paying him $1 million to hit free agency.
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What would Jurickson Profar bring to the Yankees?
At 29 years old, Profar hit .243 with a .321 OBP, 15 homers, and 58 RBIs last season for the Padres. He posted a 110 wRC+ and 2.5 WAR, but his Steamer projections have him experiencing a dip in offensive production this upcoming season.
Specifically, they have him hitting .241 with a .326 OBP, 12 homers, and 48 RBIs. However, given his switch-hitting bat, the expectation is he could hit 20+ homers in Yankee Stadium while offering the team decent defense in left field. He’s played 2033.2 total innings in left field throughout his career, recording two defensive runs saved and -5 outs above average at the position in 2022 with the Padres.
The problem the Yankees are running into is that they don’t have enough money to sign him at the current moment. They are close to the $293 million luxury tax threshold, and Profar is likely looking for a multiyear deal at $10+ million per season. Given how strong the market was and the lofty contracts players earned across the board, Profar simply doesn’t want to be left out.
“A person with knowledge of the team’s decision-making said free agent Jurickson Profar’s asking price has kept him out of the Yankees’ plans.”The Athletic’s Brendan Kuty reports.
It makes sense the Yankees are buying their time and remaining patient. At the very least, they can let Hicks and Cabrera fight out the position and look to acquire another option before the trade deadline next summer. Obviously, that is a more risky approach, but they simply can’t afford to break the bank right now and push into the Steve Cohen threshold.
However, suppose general manager Brian Cashman finds a way to offload Hicks or Josh Donaldson, which will clear a pretty penny. In that case, they could fit Profar under their current threshold, which would be an ideal strategy.
A lot hinges on the Yankees offloading some of the bigger contracts on the roster that simply aren’t holding their weight. It is an easier-said-than-done task, but if the Yankees really want Profar, they will find a way to get it done.