Yankees News: Yasiel Puig update, is there still interest?

yasiel puig, New York Yankees

The New York Yankees are still in the market for an outfielder, and while veteran Brett Gardner remains in play, the expectation is that they could consider alternative options.

The latest update on Gardner on their negotiations was a few weeks ago, as both sides feel confident they can strike a deal if they agree on a good price. General manager Brian Cashman is trying desperately to stay under the $210 million luxury tax threshold, and Gardner could be asking for $5+ million in 2021. Considering the Yankees bought him out at $2.5 million instead of paying him $10 million for next season, they likely aren’t willing to overspend.

A few alternative options have bubbled to the surface, and one of them is Yasiel Puig. Several weeks ago, the Yankees were reportedly interested in his services, but it seems as if they have dipped out of the race. The 6-foot-2 and 240-pound outfielder is 30 years old and didn’t sign on with the team for the 2020 season, despite his desire to. His last major sample size was in 2019 when he played in 149 games and averaged .267. If he weren’t such a disgruntled employee, he would fit perfectly in the Yankee outfield, considering his immense power.

According to MLB Insider Jon Heyman, the Yankees have lost interest in Yasiel Puig:

The Royals are not in on Yasiel Puig. Which makes it a clean sweep. The 3 teams rumored to be in on Puig — Marlins, Yankees and Royals — are not interested. For his sake, hopefully there are teams.

Puig launched 24 HRs in 84 RBIs in 2019, with a relatively low strikeout rate. It’s a shame he can’t stay a consistent teammate and not cause any problems, as his career could be illustrious.

Back we go to the Gardner debate, and it seems as if plenty of fans are ready to turn the chapter on the aging outfielder. He does offer a lefty bat and consistency in the injury department, which is a big positive.

Yankees News: 3 lefty outfielders Cashman could sign in coming days

New York Yankees, Brett Gardner

The Yankees aren’t done making moves, despite general manager Brian Cashman acquiring Corey Kluber and Jameson Taillon over the past week and a half. Bolstering the starting pitching rotation was a necessity, as the unit struggled in 2020 with injuries and inconsistencies. However, despite several starters rehabilitating from injury, the unit is now composed with more talent and potential than before.

Cashman isn’t done maneuvering just yet, though, as there are other positions that still need a bit of support. The outfield could use another player, and while the consensus is that they will retain veteran OF Brett Gardner for one more season, they could go in a different direction after clearing up $8.15 million in the Adam Ottavino trade.

Three lefty outfielders the Yankees could sign:

1.) Brett Gardner

The easiest player for the Yankees to bring back is Gardner, who’s club option for the 2021 season was rejected. Instead, Cashman elected to buy him out at $2.5 million, and offering him a one year deal in the $4-5 range makes way more sense. With ownership trying to stay under the $210 million luxury tax threshold, every cent counts, so saving even $3-4 million with Gardner on a one year deal is beneficial.

The only issue, they are better left-handed hitters on the market than Gardy at this point in his career. At 37 years old in 2020, he posted a .223 average with five homers and 15 RBIs. He did land a career-high 16.5% walk percentage and just previously set a personal record with 28 homers and 74 RBIs in 2019. Gardner is a consistent face that remains healthy and provides some offensive support, and the Yankees have always been loyal to him. I fully expect them to bring back Brett instead of scouring the market for a different player.

New York Yankees: Yankee outfielder options; Gardner, Pederson, or Puig?

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The New York Yankees have made tremendous strides in the past week to improve the team for the 2021 season. They were finally able to re-sign batting champ DJ LeMahieu, sign two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber and trade for pitcher Jameson Taillon. They may still sign arms to the bullpen. With Yankee veteran outfielder Brett Gardner not signed, there is much talk about adding another outfielder.

Although more is always better than less, this writer feels the Yankees have plenty of backup outfielders while understanding the outfielders’ injury record is not good. Stanton, Hicks, and Judge had missed parts of the last three seasons. However, along with Stanton, Mike Tauchman, and newly acquired Greg Allen, that makes three backups for Judge, Hicks, and Frazier. If they add to that, I feel it will be with Brett Gardner, more out of respect and loyalty than need.

Brett Gardner:

Nevertheless, let’s take a look at these options.  Brett Gardner is the only holdover from the 2009 World Series season. Kyle Higashioka was a Yankee then but was in the minors. Despite a career-low .223 batting average in ’20, Gardner’s excellent 16.5% walk rate (and .354 OB) still gave him a 108 OPS +, making him slightly above average and similar to the 103 OPS+ he put up from ’17-19. Gardner had a $10 million option with a $2.5 buyout feature, the Yankees declined. With Garder’s desire to play another year and the fan’s love of their veteran that plays so hard, the Yankees can come to deal if they truly want him back. He is still an above-average defender in both left and centerfield. Add to that Gardner would like to finish out his career with the Yankees.

Joc Pederson:

Probably the best left-hand hitter out there that the Yankees can afford is free agent Joc Pederson. The former Los Angeles Dodger destroys right-hand pitching and would be the perfect fit for Yankee Stadium’s short porch in right. He is not the defender that Gardner is, but his bat makes up for that. Against right-hand pitchers in 2020, he hit .382/.432/.559 in 37 plate appearances. If there is a problem, it’s that he can’t hit off lefties. Last year he batted .190 off lefties. That would be less of a problem with the Yankees as their right-heavy lineup seldom faces lefty pitchers. With an incentive-laden contract, the Yankees could probably land Pederson for $6 million on a one year contract. By the way, he is a Luke Voit look alike.

Yasiel Puig:

Puig might cost the New York Yankees more than they want to pay for someone that might be just a bench player.  Aaron Judge would have to have a serious injury and be away from the team for a long period to make Puig a strong need. Puig has a career .277 batting average with 132 home runs in seven years of play. The Cuban has just turned 30 years old. However, adding Puig would not provide a lefty bat to the lineup. Puig’s colorful personality would also be an interesting fit on the Yankees, who are generally regarded as a clean-cut organization for literal and metaphorical reasons. Still, that doesn’t preclude Puig from heading to the Bronx. After all, it’s not as if an interesting character or two haven’t donned pinstripes in the past.

Tommy LaStella:

One interesting possibility is Tommy LaStella, the former Angel and Athletics infielder. He would be backup for the New York Yankees to play any position in the infield should any of the Yankee infielders be injured or need a day off. Coming to the Yankees would be like a homecoming for the northern New Jersey native. Last year with the Angels and Athletics, he hit .281 with 5 home runs while striking out only 12 times in 228 plate appearances. In the postseason, he hit .273 in the wild card and .313 in the ALDS. While there are others available, these are my best four fits for the Yankees.

Yankees Rumors: Jameson Taillon trade imminent, Yasiel Puig a serious consideration

Jameson Taillon, New York Yankees

New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman works quickly, and when there’s smoke, there’s usually fire. Recent reports have connected Pittsburgh Pirates’ starting pitcher Jameson Taillon to the Yankees, as they desperately need a more consistent arm with potential. He will only be on the books for $2.25 million in 2021, with control until 2023.

At just 29 years old, Taillon is a 6-foot-5, 230-pound pitcher that recorded a 4.10 ERA in 2019. However, his sample size of 37.1 innings doesn’t say much. His most recent full campaign was in 2018 when he logged a 3.20 ERA over 191 innings. His 46.2% ground ball rate fits well in Yankee Stadium and his career-high 3.9 WAR two years ago shows he can be of quality.

The expectation is that the Pirates will move him soon, according to Mark Feinsand of MLB Network.

Considering the Yankees have been in contact with Pittsburgh regarding his services, I am under the impression that Cashman is looking to acquire the young starter. However, depending on what they’re asking for, Cashman should be conservative. Pittsburgh may look at a player like Clint Frazier and Miguel Andujar as potential parts of the deal. I would be OK giving Andujar, but Frazier has earned his right to starting reps in 2021.

However, another rumor is going around that the Yankees are also interested in slugging outfielder Yasiel Puig. Their interest in Puig is surprising, but it could indicate that Cashman is willing to part ways with Frazier for a starting pitcher.

The former Los Angeles Dodger didn’t play in 2020, but in 2019, he recorded a .267 batting average with 24 homers and 84 RBIs. At 30 years old, he has plenty of quality baseball left in his bones, and he would add significant power to the outfield to pair with Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. He has had some troubles in the past in the locker room, but if the Yankees can corral him, he would give them that extra edge they need in the batting order.

Defensively, Puig recorded a .977 fielding percentage in 2019, committing six errors and recorded 244 putouts. Again, the Yankees’ interest in him is extremely surprising, and the only justification is that they’re willing to trade Clint with his stock at an all-time high after finishing 2020 as a Gold Glove finalist and putting together some solid at-bats.

 

The New York Yankees should add the perfect slugger to their batting order

yasiel puig, New York Yankees

The New York Yankees have a perfect opportunity to land a big-time slugger this off-season, and it could be on a cost-efficient contract.

Mark Feinsand of MLB Network stated that the Yankees are intrigued by Yasiel Puig this past week, and he is a perfect player to inject into the batting order.

General manager Brian Cashman has latched onto the idea that home runs equal points on the board. He’s not wrong, but when your sluggers get injured as frequently as the Yankees’ do, it poses a significant problem when your depth doesn’t have that same spark.

In 2019, the Yankees managed to walk away with 103 wins despite losing Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton for chunks of the season. In 2020, Judge and Stanton missed time again, but this time the depth wasn’t able to replicate their same underdog performance.

If Cashman really wants to identify as a home run hitting team, he needs depth that can do the same. Ultimately, it’s becoming difficult to rely on Judge, Stanton, and Gary Sanchez for a 162 game season. Having reliable depth that can launch homers seems to be essential, which is where Yasiel Puig comes in.

Puig is a polarizing athlete, given his questionable presence in the locker room. He has spent time with two different teams, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Cleveland Indians. He didn’t play in 2020, but in 2019, he recorded a .267 average with 24 HRs and 84 RBIs. He played in 149 games, indicating his health and the value he has over the course of an entire season. The Yankees have fantastic coaching that can improve launch angle and home run probability, so he could end up being something special in pinstripes.

Interestingly, Puig didn’t opt-out of the 2020 season, he was simply unsigned. There were reports that he reached an agreement with the Atlanta Braves, but after testing positive for COVID-19, the deal fell apart, and he ended up taking a year off. His lack of maturity has been a focal point the past few seasons, but if there’s any place that he can mature and see his potential, it is with the Yankees in the Bronx. What a potential deal looks like is yet to be seen, but a one-year contract with a club option for a second year could make sense given his unpredictability.

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

yasiel puig, New York Yankees

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.

New York Yankees are interested in power-hitting outfielder

yasiel puig, New York Yankees

The New York Yankees have had a slow offseason, as they want to stay under the $210 million payroll threshold for 2021. They have at least two holes in the rotation and many more in the bullpen, but so far, they have remained relatively silent in the winter.

However, they continue to scan the market in search of upgrades in several key areas. The most recent report came on Monday, from MLB.com reporter Mark Feinsand.

Feinsand said that free agent outfielder Yasiel Puig is drawing interest from multiple teams. One of them, of course, is the New York Yankees. The reporter explained that the Boston Red Sox, the Houston Astros, the Miami Marlins, and the Baltimore Orioles all have “varying degrees of interest” in the slugger.

The Yankees could use Puig’s power

The report represents a surprising development in the last few weeks, as Feinsand had stated in late-November that the Red Sox, Orioles, and Astros were in on the outfielder. That means the Yankees’ interest is relatively new.

The Yankees currently have Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks, Clint Frazier, Mike Tauchman, and Miguel Andujar under contract in the outfield position, although Andujar’s role is up in the air. There have also been internal discussions on whether or not to re-sign Brett Gardner.

Puig failed to sign with a team in the 2020 season after a bout with COVID-19. In fact, he had a deal in place with the Atlanta Braves but it all fell apart after his positive test.

The Yankees are looking at Puig as a reliable alternative since he is still young, at 30 years old, and has a track record of past success.

For his career, Puig has a .277/.348/.475 slash line with a 124 wRC+, 132 home runs, 441 runs scored, 415 RBI, and 79 steals. He is seen as a controversial character in the clubhouse, but when he’s on, he can greatly improve a lineup.

BREAKING: TREVOR BAUER TRADED TO THE REDS

The New York Yankees are looking into Cleveland Indians pitcher, Trevor Bauer.

New York Yankees starting pitching target Trevor Bauer has been traded to the Cincinnati Reds, ending his tenure with the Indians. The trade is part of a three team deal, including the Padres. Outfielder Yasiel Puig is involved, and going to the Indians.

This trade takes one of the top pitching targets off the board. Yasiel Puig was not expected to be dealt.

Bizarre Ends

Both Puig and Bauer had bizarre ends to their careers with their respective teams.

Bauer finished his time with the Indians by hurling a ball over the batters eye in center field off the pitchers mound in Kansas City after a poor outing.

Puig, minutes after the trade leaked, was still in the game when a massive brawl broke out between the Reds and Pirates, started by Amir Garrett charging the Pirate dugout. Puig got right in the thick of the brawl, defending his now former teammates, then departing the field due to the trade and ejection.

The Yankees will be forced to find other starting pitchers to trade for.