Yankees linked to top remaining left field free agent

jurickson profar, yankees
Oct 15, 2022; San Diego, California, USA; San Diego Padres left fielder Jurickson Profar (10) hits a singling in the second inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers during game four of the NLDS for the 2022 MLB Playoffs at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees have taken an extremely conservative approach filling left field this off-season. They missed out on the top free agents, including Andrew Benintendi, Michael Brantley, and even Michael Conforto, who signed a contract with the San Francisco Giants.

The Yankees did retain Aaron Judge on a lucrative nine-year extension, but he situates the right field position, whereas Aaron Hicks and Oswaldo Cabrera currently house left field. Management seems keen on providing them with an opportunity to compete for the starting job, but a recent report by MLB Network’s Jon Morosi indicated that the Bombers are engaged with the top remaining free agent, Jurickson Profar.

What would Jurickson Profar bring to the Yankees?

Profar is an intriguing player at 29 years old. Hosting a switch-hitting bat and the capacity to play multiple positions, he’s an intriguing name that could be valuable in 2023.

Last season for the San Diego Padres, Profar hit .243 with a .331 OBP, 15 homers, and 58 RBIs with a 110 wRC+. He was a 2.5 WAR player, the best in his career, hosting a .984 fielding percentage over 1,237.2 innings in the outfield. He posted two defensive runs saved above average and -5 outs above average, so his defensive contributions won’t be extravagant. Profar ranks in the 67th percentile in arm strength but 37th percentile in outfield jump — he has limitations. In addition, his sprint speed lands in the 32nd percentile, which impacts his base-running and range, especially playing left field in Yankee Stadium.

Given his offensive metrics show a bit of power, notably at a 34.3% hard-hit rate and 4% barrel rate last season, the Yankees could be intrigued. Nonetheless, Profar doesn’t move the needle much in either the offensive or defensive category.

The Yankees are better off rolling with Cabrera and Hicks as their primary options since both seem to be better defensively and can easily match his offensive numbers. Over the course of a full season, Cabrera projects to hit .236 with a .300 OBP, 14 homers, and 44 RBIs. He comes in at 3% less regarding his on-base percentage compared to Profar, but given his youth and expected development, he could surpass his Steamer projections easily.

The Yankees passed on the majority of the top free-agent players, so settling for Profar doesn’t seem to be the most lucrative move. Trading for Bryan Reynolds would be the blockbuster option, but general manager Brian Cashman isn’t keen on selling the farm to acquire him.

Max Kepler has bubbled to the surface throughout the off-season, but his offensive metrics aren’t exciting either. He does offer quality defense, which is valuable, but the team may not be looking to move any players at this point, especially after the injury to Frankie Montas.