Yankees News/Rumors: Yasiel Puig on the radar, Chris Archer a solid starting option?

yasiel puig, New York Yankees
Aug 31, 2019; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Cleveland Indians right fielder Yasiel Puig (66) reacts as he is out to end the third inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees have been extremely quiet this off-season as they navigate free agency and remain stuck on DJ LeMahieu and his contract extension. I don’t expect the Yankees to be aggressive by any means unless DJ walks and they have an opening in financial flexibility. For now, we can expect the Bombers to dip their hand in the secondary market of players, and one option that has bubbled to the surface is Yasiel Puig.

Puig spent the 2019 season with two different teams, posting a .267 batting average with 24 homers and 84 RBIs. He didn’t play in 2020, but he is the perfect slugger for a team that is looking to add big bats to the lineup. Especially with injuries taking their toll on the Yankees the past few years, including Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, having reserve sluggers to plug and play is essential.

Given the fact that ownership wants general manager Brian Cashman to stay under the $210 million luxury tax threshold, I wouldn’t expect to see them splash any cash toward big-name players. However, for a player like Puig, who has a ton of power to offer with his bat, he could be worth the risk. At just 30 years old, he has a career slash line of .277/.348/.475. He’s been viewed as a controversial character in the clubhouse, but if the Yankees can hold him down and he buys into the system, he could be an incredible asset for them in 2021.

Should the New York Yankees consider Chris Archer as a potential veteran starter?

After the 2020 MLB season concluded, the Pittsburgh Pirates elected to opt-out of Chris Archer‘s contract rather than trigger his $11 million option for 2021. Archer has been inconsistent since joining the Pirates as a full-time starter in 2019. He posted a 5.19 ERA with 10.75 strikeouts per nine over a 119.2 inning sample size.

Archer is a risky option for the Yankees, considering he will have thoracic outlet syndrome surgery in June. This issue causes pinching and compression in the nerves around the neck area. If he’s willing to take a one-year minimum deal, it couldn’t hurt to consider him as a potential option in the rotation.

The Yankees don’t have an exorbitant amount of money to spend, so staying under budget and taking a cheap chance on a player with upside isn’t necessarily a terrible idea. There are better options on the market, but they will cost more, and considering how thin the position is in free agency, they all have overvalued contract expectations.