The Yankees face stiff competition across the board in free agency, specifically regarding slugger Aaron Judge who’s enjoying a trip out west. The San Francisco Giants are preparing to make him a sizable offer, but the Yankees are still confident they can match and provide everything he wants moving forward.
However, general manager Brian Cashman isn’t only worried about the starting right field position, he also has to fill left field as well. The team has been connected to a myriad of different outfielders, including Michael Conforto, Cody Bellinger, Masataka Yoshida, and Andrew Benintendi, who spent 33 games with the Bombers this past season after being traded from the Kansas City Royals.
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The Yankees are interested in keeping Andrew Benintendi around:
Benintendi seems to be the best option on the market, hitting .304 with a 37.3% on-base rate, five homers, and 51 RBIs this past season. He hit 17 homers back in 2021, so the Yankees are hoping they can get more slugging production out of him in the future if retained. However, they must fend off the Houston Astros, who are reportedly intrigued by his services.
Andrew Benintendi is another highly sought-after free agent whose market is developing, with plenty of suitors expected.
One could be the Astros, who made a significant move on Monday, when they agreed to a three-year deal with first baseman Jose Abreu that’s worth around $60 million, according to The Post’s Jon Heyman.
Cashman should be looking at Benintendi or Yoshida as his primary options, especially since the Japanese star hosts a better walk percentage than strikeout rate. They would likely both cost in the realm of about $15 million per year, but given Benintendi’s MLB experience, he seems to be the safer option.
Notably, Benintendi is a successful player during the playoffs, which is exactly why the Yankees acquired him at the deadline, to begin with. Historically, he’s hit .272 with a 32.2% on-base rate, including two homers and nine RBIs across 21 playoff games.
A three-year deal worth $45 million would be a solid contract for the 28-year-old lefty. Given his solid defensive qualities and ability to get on base with elite contact hitting, he certainly fits the bill at the top of the Yankees’ batting order.
Having DJ LeMahieu or Benintendi batting before Aaron Judge is a perfect equation to put runs on the board. Ultimately, it is just a matter of how much much owner Hal Steinbrenner is willing to spend this off-season to improve the roster and if management prefers to wait until Judge’s contract is sorted before making any big moves.