Yankees facing big issues in left field after latest injury

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees, jake bauers
John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees find themselves in a tough position after their left field position battle failed to deliver the desired results this season. Initially, Oswaldo Cabrera and Aaron Hicks were set to vie for the starting position, but both fell short of expectations and were eventually ousted from the team.

Transitioning from Cabrera and Hicks

Hicks found a new home with the Baltimore Orioles after his release a few weeks ago. Meanwhile, Cabrera oscillated between Triple-A and the major leagues, stepping in primarily during injury bouts.

Relying on Interim Options

As a response to the unpredictable situation, the Yankees have leveraged players such as Jake Bauers, Billy McKinney, and Isiah Kiner-Falefa to fill the void. Bauers, however, succumbed to a shoulder injury that will see him on the injured list until after the All-Star break. His absence is a setback, given his above-average offensive contributions this season.

Bauers had a batting average of .224 and an on-base percentage (OBP) of .312. Despite these figures being less than stellar, he managed to notch seven home runs and 19 RBIs, with an 11.7% walk rate and a .470 slugging percentage. His wRC+ of 114 is a standout amidst the outfield lineup, trailing only Aaron Judge.

Deadline Deal Hopes

Manager Aaron Boone will have to grapple with the current predicament until general manager Brian Cashman can procure an outfielder with an above-average bat at the trade deadline. It is expected to be a competitive affair with sparse options, but the Yankees have been heavily linked with the former MVP of the Chicago Cubs, Cody Bellinger.

Bellinger, at 27, is enjoying a resurgence, batting .298 with a .352 OBP, with eight home runs and 28 RBIs in 55 games.

The Current State and Future Prospects

In the interim, Kiner-Falefa will continue to be a key player. His recent efforts to improve his performance have him batting .258 with a .302 OBP, boasting five home runs, 23 RBIs, nine stolen bases, and a 90 wRC+.

The Yankees are eagerly awaiting the upcoming week-long break to recuperate and hope to reintegrate Aaron Judge back into the lineup after his recovery from a torn right big toe ligament.

With an open roster spot, Boone faces a crucial decision for the left field. He might look towards Triple-A prospects like Estevan Floreal for a fresh injection of talent or recall Franchy Cordero, who has been excelling in Scranton despite earlier struggles.

Promoting a younger player might prove beneficial in the long run. It could be a silver lining following Cordero’s unimpressive stint with the team, where he had a .148 batting average and .179 OBP, and McKinney’s temporary form after stepping in post-Judge’s injury.

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