After letting Tyler Wade and Brett Gardner go this off-season, the New York Yankees need a new utilityman to fill the void. While they could go with someone cheaper and more cost-efficient, it is possible they view kris Bryant as a potential solution at multiple positions, considering his ability to play third base and in the outfield.
The Yankees could get involved in the Kris Bryant sweepstakes:
The Yanks have been a sleeping giant so far in this offseason, seemingly pushing major moves until after they could get a look at the new CBA. DJ LeMahieu is the best fit for third base duties at the moment, though he could also defer to Bryant and move over to first base, especially if the club pulls the trigger on a Luke Voit trade. Like the Blue Jays and Red Sox, the Yankees were also connected to Seiya Suzuki, suggesting they could also find a way to work Bryant into the outfield mix, perhaps in combination with a Joey Gallo trade.
Bryant is an intriguing player at 30 years old, hitting .265 during 2021 with the Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants. He also tallied 25 homers, 73 RBIs, and a 23% strikeout rate. While his strikeouts are a bit concerning for a team like the Yankees, who are trying to lower that number, his double-digit home run potential is undoubtedly enticing.
What makes Bryant truly valuable is his ability to play multiple defensive positions, spending time in every outfield spot last season and 55 games at third base and 12 at first base.
Bryant hosts a .950 fielding percentage at third base over 678 games, representing 5,541.2 innings. While that number doesn’t exactly scream efficiency, he only hosts a -4 defense of runs saved about the average, which isn’t an awful number. He is a slightly below-average defender at the hot corner, so if the Yankees wanted to fill that spot, they could look to Bryant as a solution.
Alternatively, he can simply serve as an incredibly valuable plug-and-play utility man. With the vast number of injuries, the Yankees accrue every season, having a player like Bryant would likely be the difference between winning and losing games considering who they had at their disposal last year.
However, Bryant is projected to earn upward of $23 million per season, which might be a bit too pricey for Brian Cashman’s checkbook, considering he needs to find a legit stopgap shortstop and starting pitcher.