Yankees may not see top outfield prospect for longer than anticipated

mlb: new york yankees at houston astros, jasson dominguez

New York Yankees rookie outfielder Jasson Dominguez is not expected to be ready for big league action, likely at least until July 2024, and general manager Brian Cashman painted a grim picture of their current outfield situation.

Cashman Outlines Outfield Needs

“We need two outfielders, because of Jasson Dominguez being hurt now and that obviously doesn’t help,” Cashman said in a press conference Tuesday. “So now I need a center fielder, I need a left fielder, preferably left-handed.”

The Yankees were already in need of an outfielder after a disappointing amount of production from left field in particular last season, but now Dominguez’s injury forces them to be more aggressive in the market this offseason.

The 20-year-old star prospect showed flashes of star potential before undergoing Tommy John surgery in late September. He hit four home runs and posted a .980 OPS in eight games with the Yankees, including a home run off of likely future hall of famer Justin Verlander in his first MLB at-bat.

While the Yankees likely still view him as their center fielder for the long-term, they are going to have to fill in the void that will be left by his absence for most of 2024.

The New York Post’s Jon Heyman reported this week that the Yankees and free agent outfielder Cody Bellinger have already “touched base” as free agency has begun. The two sides were heavily linked to each other before last season’s trade deadline, but nothing materialized out of it.

The Yankees are also heavily linked to star Padres outfielder Juan Soto in the trade market, though such a deal will be more difficult given that he is one of the game’s best hitters.

Both players fit the criteria of a power-hitting lefty bat that the Yankees really need. Most of their lineup from last season consisted of right-handed hitters, leaving them incapable of taking advantage of the short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium.

If they decide to go to the cheaper route in the market, Kevin Kiermaier is also available as a short-term replacement until Dominguez comes back.

Adding a star lefty bat this offseason will catapult the Yankees back into contention. However, they clearly depend on Dominguez returning to the big leagues fully healthy at some point in 2024, which is also far from guaranteed at this point.

How the Yankees approach the outfield situation this offseason remains to be seen, but expect them to be incredibly active in this year’s market.

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