Yankees could replace Harrison Bader with AL Rival centerfielder

mlb: kansas city royals at toronto blue jays, kevin kiermaier, yankees
Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees are in the market this off-season, seeking to replace key players like Harrison Bader, who they waived recently. Bader subsequently signed with the Cincinnati Reds. While Bader brought significant defensive prowess to the team, his offensive output left much to be desired during his time with the Yankees.

A primary focus for the Yankees is an upgrade, particularly someone who can provide value for the 2024 season without breaking the bank. While the long-term goal is to wait for Jasson Dominguez’s return from Tommy John surgery to claim an outfield spot (either left field or center), they need a temporary yet impactful solution.

Kevin Kiermaier: A Strategic Fit?

A viable option for the Yankees could be 33-year-old lefty, Kevin Kiermaier. Securing Kiermaier on a one-year deal could be a smart move. After an extensive tenure with the Tampa Bay Rays, he played 128 games for Toronto this season, posting a .265 batting average and a .321 OBP. His season stats also include eight home runs, 36 RBIs, and 14 stolen bases.

While Kiermaier might not offer stellar offensive numbers, he would be a beneficial addition until Dominguez is back, possibly by June. Joel Sherman of the New York Post vouches for Kiermaier’s fit for the Yankees, urging general manager Brian Cashman to prioritize him.

“The one definite is Steinbrenner should win a one-year bidding war for Kevin Kiermaier. If Kiermaier gets offered $10 million elsewhere, bid $11 million; if it is $12 million, bid $13 million.”

Defensively, Kiermaier stands out. Playing 971.1 innings in centerfield this season, he boasted a .988 fielding percentage with impressive stats like 17 defensive runs saved and 12 outs above average. Over his career, Kiermaier has accumulated 151 defensive runs saved and 81 outs above average. When it comes to replacing Bader, Kiermaier not only brings strong defensive skills but also offers better offensive contributions.

Labeled as slightly above average offensively this season, investing upwards of $10 million for a year on Kiermaier might be a judicious move. It provides the Yankees with a short-term solution without long-term financial commitments.

Yankees’ Strategic Investment: Eyeing the Future

While it might be tempting to splurge on high-profile names like Cody Bellinger, the Yankees should think prudently. With young talents pushing for starting positions, investing significantly in their pitching and adding a few potent bats might be the way forward. This strategy would also allow them to potentially pursue Juan Soto in the free agency next year.

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