Yankees Rumors: Left field options picking up steam, one lowkey option bubbling to surface

New York Yankees, Michael Brantley
Jun 17, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Astros designated hitter Michael Brantley (23) reacts after hitting a grand slam against the Chicago White Sox in the sixth inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees have already situated their right field spot with Aaron Judge on a nine-year, $360M deal. Reports have consistently indicated they are in hot pursuit of starting pitcher Carlos Rodon, despite hitting a snag in negotiations over longevity.

Adding an elite pitcher like Rodon is more of a luxury than a necessity, but the team has also prioritized filling their vacant left field spot, in which they have a myriad of different options to choose from in free agency.

The Yankees can go with the safe option like Benintendi:

The safest signing would be Andrew Benintendi, who played 33 games for the Yankees this past season after being acquired at the trade deadline. With Brandon Nimmo and other outfielders securing massive deals, Benintendi is in line to get paid significantly, especially after hitting .304 with a 37.3% on-base rate this past campaign between the Kansas City Royals and Yankees.

“Bringing back Benintendi has also remained a priority considering that though the Yankees have made clear to the Pirates their interest in Bryan Reynolds, the team hasn’t gotten the impression Pittsburgh is currently particularly motivated to trade Reynolds.”

Per Brandon Kuty of NJ.com

The Bombers have also been connected to Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Bryan Reynolds in a prospective trade, but it seems as if the Pirates would prefer to keep him around rather than send him on his way for a package of prospects.

General manager Brian Cashman could easily present them with an impressive deal, but spending money is always preferable compared to potentially expending young talent that could blossom into something special.

Notably, a deal for Reynolds would have to include either Oswald Peraza or Jasson Dominguez, two players who have bright futures with more experience.

There are cheaper options that Cashman could look to acquire, one of them being Houston Astros offensive powerhouse, Michael Brantley.

“Michael Brantley is said to be interested in signing with the Yankees, but who isn’t? Brantley would seem less likely considering the club tends to prioritize defense in Yankee Stadium’s wide left field, and his power output has diminished in recent seasons.”

Brantley only played in 64 games this past season, so age and injuries could impact his playing time in the outfield.

Despite the small sample size, Brantley hit .288 with a 37% on-base rate, five homers, and 26 RBIs over 277 plate appearances. He’s not the slugger he once was, but with a short right porch at Yankee Stadium, Brantley could double his home run totals and maintain his incredible on-base rates at a reasonable cost.

Defensively, he played 249 innings this past season but enjoyed 727.2 innings in 2021. With super utilityman Oswaldo Cabrera available to play a dynamic role, he could mitigate workloads for a number of different players, including Brantley, who will likely cost a fraction of what Benintendi is set to earn on the open market, given his age and lack of value on defense.