Yankees’ 2x Gold-Glove winning outfield acquisition could serve a big purpose in 2024

MLB: New York Mets at San Diego Padres, trent grisham, yankees
Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees‘ outfield will certainly be much better in 2024, simply as a result of acquiring Juan Soto and his elite bat. However, the secondary piece they acquired in the Soto blockbuster trade shouldn’t be overlooked. Trent Grisham, a 27-year-old lefty hitter, is coming off a few down seasons, but he’s still a tremendous defensive asset, having won two Gold Gloves in the past.

Many are focused on Soto and how he will impact the batting order, but having Grisham as a backup and late-game defensive substitute could end up becoming extremely valuable. Last season, Grisham played 153 games. In fact, he played a minimum of 132 games over the past three consecutive seasons. In 2023, he hit a measly .198/.315/.352, including 13 homers and 50 RBIs with a 91 wRC+.

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The Yankees Will Try to Reverse the Trend With Grisham

However, Grisham has put together a good season in the past, notably in 2020 with the Padres. Over 59 games, he hit .251/.352/.456, including 10 home runs and 26 RBIs. His numbers started to dip in 2021, but the Yankees may have a few tweaks they can make to offer better production offensively.

His hard-hit metrics still look solid, recording a 39.9% hard-hit rate, 11.8% barrel rate, and 90.3 average exit velocity last season, some career highs. Interestingly, Grisham dominated against left-handed pitching, which is odd since he’s a lefty batter. He hit .256/.362/.430, including a .792 OPS.

The Yankees could platoon him against lefty pitchers, if not utilize him if injuries take hold. If Grisham can take a step forward against breaking and offspeed pitches, he should offer significantly more value moving forward.

Defensively, Grisham played 1,276 innings last season, all of which came in center field. He collected one defensive run saved and seven outs above average with a .987 fielding percentage. Having a defensive asset at your disposal is never a bad thing, especially if there is some upside offensively. Given his age, the Yankees have plenty of time to turn his career around in the batter’s box, and he has two more years left of control to offer the Yankees value.