Yankees’ versatile outfielder’s roster spot is hanging on by a thread

jake bauers, yankees
Jun 3, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; New York Yankees left fielder Jake Bauers (61) follows through on a home run in the fourth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees recently conducted a series of roster moves, with seven players being outrighted and a number opting for free agency. This reshuffling leaves the team with starting pitchers Frankie Montas, Luis Severino, and Domingo German approaching free agency. Speculation suggests Montas might be offered a one-year extension, but the market is heating up with impending team decisions.

Off-Season Strategy for Depth and Talent

The Yankees’ off-season strategy includes reinforcing their depth and injecting new talent into the starting lineup. Jake Bauers, who emerged as a key depth player for the Yankees in 2023, could be a value piece after starting many games last season.

Evaluating Jake Bauers’ Performance

Bauers‘ performance in the last season was a mix of highs and lows, evidenced by his .202 batting average, .279 OBP, and .413 slugging percentage. Despite hitting 12 home runs and driving in 30 RBIs, his high strikeout rate paired with a moderate walk rate painted him as a player with great disparity in his play.

Comparing Bauers and McKinney

The choice to keep Bauers over Billy McKinney, who has now chosen free agency, has been questioned by some. McKinney posted a .227 average and a .320 OBP over 48 games. Bauers, who is a year younger than McKinney, offers valuable versatility with his ability to play both the outfield and first base.

Bauers’ Defensive Metrics

In terms of defense, Bauers recorded -9 defensive runs saved and -3 outs above average in the outfield, alongside average fielding stats at first base over the past season. The Yankees will be looking for him to leverage his versatility and potential power as they head into 2024.

Potential Position Battles in Spring Training

The upcoming spring training is likely to ignite competition for roster spots, with Bauers possibly facing challenges from prospects like Everson Pereira and Estevan Florial. Additionally, the Yankees’ pursuit of another infielder could create a surplus at first base, intensifying the battle for positions.

Front Office Activity During Free Agency

As free agency gets into full swing, the Yankees’ front office is expected to be active in seeking valuable signings to address roster gaps. While the focus for many remains on high-profile transactions, the team’s immediate goal is to ensure a well-rounded and balanced team for the upcoming season.

Mentioned in this article:

More about: