The New York Yankees suffered a defeat to the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night, positioning themselves in a likely seller role for the 6 PM trade deadline on Tuesday. The Yankees’ missed opportunities to push for a Wild Card spot and boost their lineup with substantial additions have raised questions about the strategic approach of general manager Brian Cashman.
Challenging Times for the Yankees
As the majority of desirable players have been snapped up by rival teams, Cashman’s strategy seems to rest on the surfacing of value-based rental options. However, even with the impressive Aaron Judge in their lineup, the Yankees currently appear unlikely to secure victories in the postseason or even to make it to the playoffs.
Given this situation, the team might consider offloading a few players who could serve as valuable rentals for other teams. One of these is Harrison Bader, a potentially valuable asset for prospective buyers.
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Spotlight on Harrison Bader
Bader, 29, is a defensive outfielder boasting a batting average of .256 and an on-base percentage (OBP) of .283 this season. His record includes seven home runs, 33 RBIs, and 10 stolen bases. Although his strikeout rate is a career-low at 16%, his walk rate is a paltry 2.8%, a remarkably low figure.
The 29-year-old outfielder currently has an 89 weighted runs created plus (wRC+) and has amassed 1.3 wins above replacement (WAR). He has also managed a 31.8% hard-hit rate, a 6.5% barrel rate, and an average exit velocity of 85.7 mph. While Bader is not known for his power and can sometimes seem more of a liability than an asset at the plate, he excels in defensive duties. With 463 innings in the outfield this year, Bader has saved five defensive runs and recorded seven outs above average.
For a team looking to enhance their center field defense and supplement their order with a lower-half bat, Bader certainly fits the bill. A move to a team with playoff ambitions might boost his confidence and motivation, given the current malaise affecting the Yankees.
Cashing in on Bader’s Contract
With Bader’s contract expiring and his free agency looming after the conclusion of the 2023 season, it would be a wise move for the Yankees to cash in on any remaining value he holds. Doing so might even allow the Bombers to gain a prospect in return, positioning them for a brighter future.