Yankees eyeing 2 position players on free agent market

Sep 29, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Chicago White Sox third baseman Josh Harrison (5) in motion towards the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees proceed to search for choices within the free agent market to fill out holes on the roster, and whereas there aren’t elite players remaining, robust veteran depth stays accessible.

Brian Cashman and the Front Office appear fairly content material with this participant group but additionally would love so as to add to it, and Jon Heyman of the NY Post reported the Yankees are a second participant on the market with attention-grabbing worth. Jurickson Profar has been mentioned closely during the last couple of days attributable to his contact and OBP expertise alongside a comparatively weak outfield market at the moment, however Josh Harrison was additionally talked about by Jon Heyman.

With the Yankees trying to bolster their lineup and roster, how do these two veterans assist the Yankees?

Is Jurickson Profar the Answer in Left Field?

Jurickson Profar is somebody the Yankees have had curiosity in for some time, courting again to his time with the Texas Rangers. Brian Cashman tried to commerce for Jurickson Profar previous to the 2016 season, however that by no means materialized. While not an infielder, Profar has settled into being a full-time left fielder with the San Diego Padres, posting a 110 wRC+ with 15 HRs in 2022 and serving as certainly one of their desk setters within the lineup for the center of their lineup. With the acquisition of Boston Red Sox famous person Xander Bogaerts this may most certainly power Fernando Tatis to LF, the place Profar beforehand performed.

Xander Bogaerts, Yankees
Sep 16, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts (2) fields a floor ball throughout the fifth inning towards the Kansas City Royals at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

There’s not a spot for him on his incumbent group, and whereas groups just like the Boston Red Sox, Miami Marlins, and Texas Rangers (who he got here up with) have thrown their hat within the combine, the Yankees could possibly be one of the best match for the 29-year-old switch-hitter. Profar is without doubt one of the few switch-hitters in baseball these days who can hit fairly evenly from each side of the plate, however the majority of his ABs are all the time going to be towards RHP because of the rarity of LHPs. This means a greater ballpark for hitting HRs as a left-handed hitter would entice Profar extra, and the quick porch in RF is ideal for pulling flyballs and rising your HR/FB%.

In 2018 and 2019, Profar hit 20 HRs twice, and people had been notably the one years he reached the 20 HR plateau. He hasn’t slugged above .400 since 2020, which coincides with a brand new baseball that was “de-juiced,” resulting in fewer HRs and the ball carrying quite a bit much less. That being mentioned, San Diego can be a notably poor ballpark for left-handed hitters to hit HRs in, with a 96 Park Factor in comparison with Yankee Stadium’s 118. Statcast’s Expected HR by Ballpark has Profar with 20 HRs within the common and postseason as a substitute of simply 16, and that is made evident by anybody who appears at his spray charts overlaid with Yankee Stadium.

It’s protected to say that Profar would positively profit from enjoying at Yankee Stadium on the plate, and along with his robust plate self-discipline, it is simple to see how he’d match into the lineup. Profar struck out simply 15.7% of the time with an 11.1% BB%, exhibiting off a novel means to remain affected person whereas additionally being aggressive sufficient to make contact within the strike zone and keep away from whiffs. He had the Seventeenth-best walk-to-strikeout ratio in baseball amongst certified hitters in 2022, and that is attributable to his 79th Percentile Chase Rate and 86th Percentile Whiff Rate.

Jurickson Profar would not appear to have the ability to present way more on the floor attributable to poor common exit velocities and barrel charges, however when he does elevate the ball, he sometimes pulls it from that left-side, with the 14th-best pulled flyball fee in baseball final season amongst LHBs. This ought to enable him to outperform along with his HR totals relative to an 87.5 MPH Average Exit Velocity, which ranked within the backside 25 final season.

The solely concern could be dealing with left area defensively, as on the floor, a -6 OAA is fairly unhealthy, however OAA is a range-based metric, that means it would not account in your arm. Jurickson Profar’s arm is phenomenal, with a max throwing velocity of 94.2 MPH and +5 rARM in 2022. This is why DRS has him at a +2 for 2022, grading him as a constructive defender. This sounds inherently biased to push the “narrative” that Jurickson Profar and the Yankees could be an awesome match, however I’d say DRS is a greater illustration of his protection than OAA is, however what I do suppose we are able to in the end agree on is that he can deal with the position simply high-quality.

Why are the Yankees in on Josh Harrison?

This is one thing I wasn’t actually anticipating the Yankees to discover, however the extra you concentrate on it, the extra sense it makes. Josh Harrison had a $5.5 million membership choice declined by the White Sox, that means he is most certainly not going to value a lot and will present strong worth as a bench participant. He’s performed the outfield and throughout the infield as effectively, and similar to with Jurickson Profar, Brian Cashman has tried to accumulate Harrison to be the 2B earlier than. He profiles as a scrappy bat who serves a utility function coming off the bench and relieving on a regular basis starters after they want off days.

He slashed .256/.317/.370 with a 98 wRC+ final season, hitting simply 7 HRs in 119 video games for the 81-81 Chicago White Sox. His low strikeout charges and aggressive method enable him to be the scrappy hitter on the plate that would ambush you for a house run should you go to sleep on the mound. Harrison posted 6 DRS and 4 OAA between 2B/3B and has additionally performed outfield in addition to shortstop, however to much less success. He has league-average velocity, however maybe with greater bases, he might issue into the working sport extra successfully in 2023. While he appears to be a declining veteran, maybe the Yankees see one thing better.

Harrison turned his season round solely after a brutal begin to the season, posting a mere 50 wRC+ and 0 HRs by way of the primary two months of 2022. From June onwards, Josh Harrison hit .286 with 7 HRs and a 114 wRC+, returning to the high-average hitter he was beforehand regardless of an elevated strikeout fee, and this got here from extra line drives and fewer groundballs, one thing that could possibly be tied to a shoulder problem he had in April that will have been affecting his swing path. This is not to say he is a real expertise 114 wRC+ hitter, however his low-whiff charges and good protection ought to give him a powerful function on this ball membership if the Yankees had been to signal him.

Josh Harrison should not value a lot, however there’s positively cause to consider that the Yankees might get Harrison to place up a 100-105 wRC+ off the bench and play a wide range of positions, particularly if Oswaldo Cabrera is required to play LF within the state of affairs the place the Yankees can’t purchase a full-time left fielder. It’s not the flashy transfer that followers are hoping for, however it could get rid of the necessity for Oswaldo Cabrera to be a utilityman or could possibly be a utilityman alongside Cabrera and simply make this group that a lot deeper off the bench.

Looking At the Potential Roster Crunch

The Yankees are going to wish to start out determining their MLB roster crunch ahead of later as a result of Spring Training just isn’t too far-off. Isiah Kiner-Falefa could be the most certainly commerce candidate compared to Aaron Hicks or Josh Donaldson, and that is attributable to the truth that there are groups that do want infielders, and $6 million for one 12 months of IKF is not going to sink anybody financially That commerce looks like it is a matter of when not if, though that is simply speculating based mostly on reviews, monetary conditions, and just a few frequent sense.

Technically they might choice him to Triple-A, however once more why would you pay somebody $6 million to play within the Minor Leagues as a substitute of not less than being a strong pinch-runner and giving guys days off within the lineup? An MLB group goes to wish an infielder, they usually’ll come calling for IKF after they understand they can not discover one on the market. Look on the Arizona Diamondbacks or Colorado Rockies and ask your self why they would not not less than take into account throwing a prospect outdoors of their prime 30 for a rental SS who’s positively not horrible.

Oct 14, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa (12) throws to first base to power out Cleveland Guardians left fielder Steven Kwan (not pictured) throughout the seventh inning in sport two of the ALDS for the 2022 MLB Playoffs at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

It’ll be attention-grabbing to see how they handle it, however Brian Cashman and the Yankees are going to maintain exploring the free-agent market for items that may resolve the World Series puzzle.

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