The New York Yankees missed out on the best free agents in the offseason to resolve their vacant fielding position. Andrew Benintendi signed with the Chicago White Sox, Michael Conforto landed with the San Francisco Giants, and even Michael Brantley decided to move back to Houston.
While the Yankees brass have shown confidence in their available options, particularly Aaron Hicks and Oswaldo Cabrera, it’s no secret that they are trying to improve the position, be it through free agency or trade.
While the FA market is weak, there are few conceivable upgrades they could make, keeping Oswaldo in the preferred utility role.
Three free agents in left field that the Yankees could target:
1.) Jorickson Provar
One of the top options left is Jurickson Profar, who spent the 2022 season with the San Diego Padres. The 29-year-old played in 152 games, hit 15 home runs and 58 RBI for an average of 243 and 331 OBP. He posted a strike rate of 15.7% and a walk rate of 11.1%, showing solid patience at the plate.
Profar scored 110 wRC+, the second highest mark of his career. He had a 34.3% affected rate and a 4.0% keg rate, including an 87.5 mph exit speed.
Defensively, Profar posted an above average -6 in left field. From a metrics standpoint, his defense is nothing short of exciting, boasting a 32 percent springtime and 37 percent jumping for the outfielder. Brovar splashes the ball around the field well as a key hitter, but he’s a bit of a defensive burden, which may not be ideal for the Bombers.
2.) David Peralta
Instead, they could consider David Peralta, a player who sparked their interest at the trade deadline over the summer.
Peralta played for the Arizona Diamondbacks and Tampa Bay Rays, hitting a combined . 251 and . 316 OBP. He hit 12 homers with 59 RBIs, and posted 104 wRC+. Defensively, he had 5 points above average but had -5 defensive saves. Traditionally, he’s been a good defensive player, but at the age of 35, there’s no doubt his athletic performance is declining. However, he’s a left-handed hitter who posted a 44.1% hit rate last season, which suggests there may be some untapped strength the Yankees can extrapolate.
3.) Tommy Pham
Another free agent who could be a potential target is Tommy Pham, who spent last season with the Cincinnati Reds and Boston Red Sox. Realistically, Pham is nowhere on the Yankees’ radar, hitting . 236 with a 0.312 OBP last season, including 17 homers and 63 RBIs.
Offensively, he has a bit of a pop to his bat, but he’s right, and the Yankees have been trying to fill the left field position with either a switch or a left batter.
Defensively, Pham posted a . 972 strikeout percentage over 1,135.1 innings pitched. For an outfielder, that’s bad, especially since he accumulated seven errors with a -6 over average.
If I were Brian Cashman, I would steer clear of those three free agents, and look to the trade market as the best opportunity to connect a highly up-and-coming player to the position.