Yankees’ new outfielder takes sage advice from Matt Carpenter on playing in the Bronx

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Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

While the acquisition of Juan Soto certainly buried other headlines, the Yankees also brought over Trent Grisham in the blockbuster deal executed with the San Diego Padres. Grisham was overlooked for a variety of reasons, not because he will serve as a depth piece but also because his numbers haven’t been great over the past few seasons.

However, Grisham stepped up to the plate in his first spring training at-bat on Saturday afternoon, proceeding to launch a three-run homer, breaking a personal record in max exit velocity. Grisham is already showing what a tweak in fundamentals can do, and the Yankees are ecstatic about the value he can bring in centerfield as a Gold Glove winner.

Grisham’s Adjustment and Expectations

Grisham looked to former Yankee and Padres teammate Matt Carpenter to gauge what playing in the Bronx is like, and the advice he received was nothing but sage.

“I was excited to come over and be a part of this organization that I’ve heard so much about from different players,” Grisham said. “I talked a lot with Matt Carpenter about it, and he filled me in on everything. He said the group of guys here is second to none that he’s been with.”

Grisham played 153 games this past season, hitting .198/.315/.352, including 13 homers and 50 RBIs with 15 stolen bases. He’s been a primary starter for the better part of three seasons, and the Yankees project utilizes him as a reserve, which indicates a massive improvement to a unit that was one of the worst in baseball last year.

READ MORE: Yankees’ former top centerfield free agent target takes a much smaller deal than expected

Yankees Will Use Grisham Strategically

While Grisham’s offensive production has been inconsistent, if not lackluster, he has been a positive defensive asset over the past few years. In 2023, he played 1,276 innings in centerfield, hosted one defensive run saved, and seven outs above average. Manager Aaron Boone is already thinking about how they can utilize a player with this much defensive value, potentially in late-game scenarios where they need a boost of defense in center field.

“You get a premium defender in the middle of the diamond; that’s always very valuable,” Boone said. “It’s one of those areas that hopefully we’re in a better position than a year ago. Hopefully, we have a full roster that’s able to handle those inevitable [injury] things that come up.”

Aside from strategically using him when the outfield is healthy, Grisham can always step in and support any missed time from the primary starters.

The Yankees have been routinely injured in the recent past, and Grisham should help quell any concerns in that category. Last year, the team relied on players like Franchy Cordero, Jake Bauers, and Billy McKinney to hold over outfield positions, but none of those three would even sniff the roster at this point.

In fact, the Yankees might have made the biggest improvement of any team regarding a specific unit, and adding only Soto would’ve been enough.

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