The New York Yankees missed out on the top free agents this off-season to solve their vacant left field position. Andrew Benintendi signed with the Chicago White Sox, Michael Conforto landed with the San Francisco Giants, and even Michael Brantley decided to return to Houston.
While the Yankees brass has displayed confidence in their available options, notably Aaron Hicks and Oswaldo Cabrera, it is no secret they are trying to improve the position, whether it be through free agency or trade.
While the FA market has thinned, there are a few conceivable upgrades they can make, keeping Oswaldo in a preferred utility role.
- Yankees’ top trade target is a certainty to be traded according to MLB insider
- New outfield options for Yankees to entertain this offseason
- Yankees’ desire for Juan Soto hangs on a $400 million decision
Three left-field free agents the Yankees could target:
1.) Jurickson Profar
One of the top remaining options is Jurickson Profar, who spent the 2022 season with the San Diego Padres. The 29-year-old played in 152 games, hitting 15 homers and 58 RBIs with a .243 average and .331 OBP. He posted a 15.7% strikeout rate and 11.1% walk rate, showcasing solid patience at the plate.
Profar recorded a 110 wRC+, the second-highest mark in his career. He earned a 34.3% hard-hit rate and a 4.0% barrel rate, including 87.5 mph of exit velocity.
Defensively, Profar posted -6 out above average in left field. From a metrics standpoint, his defense isn’t anything exciting, featuring 32nd-percentile spring speed and 37th-percentile outfielder jump. Profar sprays the ball around the field nicely as a switch hitter, but he’s a bit of a liability defensively, which may not be ideal for the Bombers.
2.) David Peralta
Alternatively, they could consider David Peralta, a player they were intrigued by at the trade deadline over the summer.
Peralta played for the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Tampa Bay Rays, hitting a combined .251 and .316 OBP. He hit 12 homers with 59 RBIs, posting a 104 wRC+. Defensively, he tallied 5 outs above average but -5 defensive runs saved. Traditionally, he’s been a fine defensive player, but at 35 years old, there’s no question his athleticism is taking a nosedive. Nonetheless, he is a lefty hitter that recorded a 44.1% hard-hit rate this past season, indicating there might be some untapped power the Yankees can extrapolate on.
3.) Tommy Pham
Another free agent that could be a potential target is Tommy Pham, who spent last season with the Cincinnati Reds and Boston Red Sox. Realistically, Pham is nowhere on the Yankees’ radar, hitting .236 with .312 OBP this past season, including 17 homers and 63 RBIs.
Offensively, he has a bit of pop to his bat, but he’s a righty, and the Yankees have been trying to fill the left-field position with either a switch or lefty batter.
Defensively, Pham posted a .972 fielding percentage across 1135.1 innings. For an outfielder, that is abysmal, especially since he accrued seven errors with -6 outs above average.
If I were Brian Cashman, I would steer clear of all three of these free agents, looking toward the trade market as the best opportunity to plug a high-upside player into the position.