Yankees may hand the utility man job to home-grown switch-hitter

MLB: Spring Training-Philadelphia Phillies at New York Yankees
Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees have already lost Oswald Peraza this spring to a shoulder injury, which will keep him out for 6–8 weeks. Despite the injury, Peraza was already trending in the wrong direction with his performance, allowing multiple errors and failing to put together competent at-bats on a consistent basis.

Immediately after Peraza went down, starting infielder DJ LeMahieu fouled a ball off his right foot, putting his availability for opening day in question.

However, LeMahieu expects to be back at some point in the next few weeks — the issue isn’t considered long-term. With that being said, the Yankees have been scouring the market for utility options to support the infield, losing out on Kikè Hernandez and Amed Rosario.

The Yankees May Lean on Oswaldo Cabrera

The Yankees could look to Oswaldo Cabrera, who made his debut back in 2022, hitting .247 with a .312 OBP, including six homers and 19 RBIs. Thanks to his excellent defensive performance, he collected 1.5 WAR over 44 games. However, his production went in the opposite direction last year, hitting .211/.275/.299, including five homers and 29 RBIs over 115 games.

The Yankees have changed his approach a bit, even having him bat left-handed against lefty pitchers, which is odd for a switch hitter.

Cabrera has played 18 games this spring, the highest of any player on the team. He’s hitting .209/.292/.302, so there’s nothing to write home about, but he’s been picking up the pace over the past few games. He has three hits in his last seven at-bats, including just one strikeout, so the Bombers are seeing progress, but there’s plenty of reason to be concerned about his offensive production at this point.

Against left-handed pitching last season, Cabrera hit just .200 with a .243 OBP, putting together slightly better numbers against right-handed pitching. He’s a bit more efficient batting from the left side, so the Yankees are fine compromising his switch-hitting qualities just to extract any small margin of improvement.

The hope is that more at-bats will fuel development, but the Yankees are certainly playing a risky hand by not acquiring a veteran to help support the infield. A player like Donovan Solano would be a great fit for the Yankees, considering he’s put together five consecutive seasons with average to above-average offensive production. Last year with Minnesota, he hit .282 with a .369 OBP over 134 games, and he has the qualities to play nearly every infield position.

Ideally, they would spend a little bit of money on Solano, but the Yankees may be waiting to see if Jordan Montgomery‘s price tag reduces in the free-agent pitching market, and given they have to pay 110% tax on any new signing, they are pinching pennies at the moment and are waiting for the right opportunity.

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