In this storied offseason that may be the greatest free agent class ever, there are two players who have made it clear they like the New York Yankees.
One is the kid from New York who grew up a Yankee fan, and is likely the best pitcher available on the market in Patrick Corbin. Given this, and that he is a left-hander, it seems a forgone conclusion Brian Cashman will push hard to bring him in and sure up what is certainly the Yankees greatest weakness.
The other is a kid from Las Vegas who idolizes Mickey Mantle, and has said his dream would be to patrol Center Field at Yankee Stadium. But Bryce Harper is not looking like he is headed to East 161st Street.
The latest news says Cashman will not be going after Harper at all this offseason. On one level this certainly makes sense.
Even the Yankees have a limited amount of money to spend, and if Harper is legitimately looking for $30 million or more a year, that would be a massive drain on their ability to address the far more pressing issues of pitching, and the sudden hole left at shortstop by the injury to Didi Gregorius.
Then there is the question of where to actually put Harper in the lineup. Aaron Judge has right field locked up probably for the next decade or two seeing as he has taken up the mantle of face of the franchise. Even if he wasn’t, there are still 10 years left on Giancarlo Stanton’s contract. Aaron Hicks looks to be shaping up as a solid player in center. Brett Gardner has been resigned for at least one more year. Clint Frazier will eventually break free of his concussion symptoms and warrant a call-up. Oh and New York still has at least two more years with Jacoby Ellsbury under contract.
The outfield is far and away the deepest part of the Yankee team, and there seems to be no place to put Harper anyway.
But Harper does one thing that the Yankees are grossly lacking in their order right now: a left-handed bat with power.
The closest thing the Yankees had was the afore-mentioned Gregorius, who will miss at least hlaf of last year recovering from surgery. And it can be assumed if Cashman actually does go after Manny Machado, he won’t be bringing Gregorius back when he hits free agency next year. Gardner likely won’t be returning, but isn’t a power hitter anyway. That leaves Hicks, a switch hitter, as the only possibly left-handed bat in a lineup one year from now that would look something like:
Ignoring the obvious benefit of the short porch being passed upon, having a lineup of EIGHT right-handed bats and one switch hitter is a recipe for disaster.
The amount of good right-handed pitchers in the league, this lineup would likely not be as successful as one that looked like say, this.
Aaron Hicks- CF- S, Aaron Judge- RF- R, Bryce Harper- LF- L, Giancarlo Stanton- DH- R, Luke Voit- 1B- R, Didi Gregorius- SS- L, Gary Sanchez- C- R, Miguel Andujar- 3B- R, Gleyber Torres- 2B- R
Suddenly much more balanced, with six righties, two lefties, and one switch hitter. And certainly worth a consideration.