Yankees depth outfielder opts for free agency after being optioned

willie calhoun, yankees
Jun 10, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Willie Calhoun (24) hits a solo home run in the sixth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees are in desperate need of an offensive boost, particularly in their underperforming outfield. Over the past few months, the team has resorted to a number of reserves in an attempt to bolster their batting lineup.

One such depth player was Willie Calhoun, a 28-year-old outfielder, who managed to deliver a .239 average and a .309 on-base percentage (OBP) in 44 games. Despite these modest numbers, which include five home runs and 16 RBIs, Calhoun was considered one of the most dependable hitters for the Yankees before an injury sidelined him.

Calhoun’s Post-Injury Route to AAA Scranton

Upon recovering from his injury, the Yankees sent Calhoun to AAA Scranton, providing him with an opportunity to compete for a return to Major League Baseball (MLB).

However, Calhoun chose to test free agency instead, perceiving a lack of future prospects with the Yankees. Despite a vacancy for a starting left fielder, the Yankees have primarily utilized Jake Bauers and Billy McKinney, occasionally even employing utility player Isiah Kiner-Falefa, regardless of his subpar defensive abilities.

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Evaluating Current Offensive Options

Bauers, aged 27, has posted a batting average of .234 with a .314 OBP this season. His contribution includes nine home runs, 22 RBIs, and a 121 weighted runs created plus (wRC+). Despite providing value as a reserve, Bauers lacks the credentials to be considered as an everyday starter.

Lack of Significant Moves from General Manager Brian Cashman

Despite the evident offensive struggles, General Manager Brian Cashman refrained from making any notable acquisitions during the trade deadline. Consequently, the Yankees are set to persist with their existing offensive resources for the remainder of the season, with an eye towards the potential for upgrading in the upcoming winter free agency.