The New York Yankees desperately need a new utilityman after letting Tyler Wade, Rougned Odor, and Brett Gardner go this off-season. While there’s always a possibility that general manager Brian Cashman finds a way to retain Gardner for one more year, the Yankees could do a bit better in finding a solution with more offensive prowess at this point in his career.
Some have pointed to Kris Bryant, formerly of the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers, as a potential free-agent target. Bryant has experience at multiple outfield spots and is capable of playing infield as well. He featured a .265 average with 25 homers this past season with both teams combined, earning an All-Star appearance.
Bryant represents the expensive route, but the Yankees could look for a more cost-efficient solution to replace their utility man woes.
One player that stands out as a potential option is former New York Mets outfielder Michael Conforto. At 28-years-old, Conforto has spent seven years in Queens with the Yankees’ crosstown rivals. He has a career average of .255, hitting 14 homers and 55 RBIs this past season over 125 games. Back in 2019, Conforto launched 33 long balls, something the Yankees might see as an attractive stat.
With a bit of power and a 21.7% strikeout rate this past year, he could be a legitimate free agent option for the Bombers. Defensively, Conforto has spent time at every outfield spot, predominantly playing right field for the Mets this past season. He featured a .975 fielding percentage with five errors and 192 put-outs. While his -4 defensive runs saved above average stand out as a slight negative, he represents the cheaper utility route compared to Bryant’s luxurious capabilities.
Given Conforto has played in over 100 games in five of his seven seasons, the Yankees would likely be able to rely on him as a fill-in if need be. Bryant also has a stellar health history but may cost is upwards of triple the amount Conforto will get on the open market.
Nonetheless, Cashman needs to find utility man one way or another, and Conforto represents one of the more offensively proficient options.