Should They Stay or Go? (OF 2 of 2)
The Yankees have a lot of decisions to make this offseason, one could say there's bound to a "clash" of opinions. Let's talk about it.
Today I will be discussing some of the Yankees outfielders
2022 Statistics: 14 Games, .217/.245/.283/.528 (51 OPS+), 10 hits, 0 Home Runs, 9 RBI's, 2 BB's, 15 K's, -1 DRS, +4.3 Def, +1.2 bWAR/+1.5 fWAR
Contract Status: Has 1-Year/$4.7 Million Remaining on Contract Through 2023
Harrison Bader had a pretty bad start to his Yankees career. When traded for he was injured and wasn't slated to make a return to action until the end of the season. Add in some set-backs along the way (in addition to other Yankees injuries which depleted the team further) and the Harrison Bader experiment was off to a rocky start. This also isn't to mention that the Yankees traded a pretty well liked Yankee, and a starting pitcher, who was left handed (which the Yankees needed) in the deal for Bader...and that pitcher- Jordan Montgomery- went on to have a magical end to the season. It also doesn't help that once he got into games, Bader was a huge offensive liability and didn't flash anything incredibly special.
However, the playoffs did go a long way in fixing his image. He was just about the only Yankee hitter to show any power (which was strange in a lineup that had Judge, Rizzo, and Stanton in it) while knocking 5 home runs over the 9 games between the ALDS and ALCS. He was a rock star out there. And, he'll be back again to man center field for 2023.
The Verdict: I'll be honest: I'm not Harrison Bader's biggest fan. I think he's a fine baseball player and he's a huge upgrade over Aaron Hicks. I commend the Yankees for going to get a player to shell up center field for 2023. However, Harrison Bader should have never been that player to get. He's far too injury prone (much like Aaron Hicks) for me to want to believe in him as a player with a long-term future in the Bronx. He's a perfect middle-of-the-road center fielder for me. If I could take it or leave it, I would've left it. (And, this isn't against Bader at all, but I can't believe they thought replacing Montgomery (and Waldichuk) with Montas was a smart move...)
2022 Statistics: 44 Games, .247/.312/.429/.740 (109 OPS+), 38 Hits, 6 Home Runs, 19 RBI's, 15 BB's, 44 K's, +12 DRS, +6.6 Def, +1.6 bWAR/+1.5 fWAR
Contract Status: Still Under Rookie Eligibility; Under Control Through at Least 2028
Oswaldo Cabrera may have been my favorite Yankee to watch this past season. He was exactly what the Yankees needed when they called him up. He brought this incredible energy to team, was willing to do whatever it took to help the team (and to help the team win), found himself to be a fantastic outfielder while learning the position on the fly (he had the 10th best DRS across all outfielders with 250 innings played), and he hit quite well.
I even was willing put my money (and pride) where my mouth was to the point of writing in one of our Tuesday Discussion questions that if Cabrera was the ALCS or World Series MVP award winner, I would buy and wear a necklace like his for the entirety of 2023. Needless to say that didn't happen. (But, as he is going to be rookie eligible in 2023, I am willing to wager a Rookie of the Year award win on me wearing a necklace like him for the whole year of 2024.)
The Verdict: Set to become the Yankees rookie version of Marwin Gonzalez, I am hoping that if the Yankees are not willing to make huge moves this offseason that they quietly rebuild and allow Cabrera to make a name for himself as a full-time player. Giving him an offseason to work on playing left field would not be the worst thing in the world and it would allow him to have better versatility if the Yankees deem him to be their super utility man going forward. He became a fan favorite quick and the Yankees better not spoil his positive attitude for the game.
2022 Statistics (Overall): 126 Games, .304/.373/.399/.772 (120 OPS+), 140 Hits, 5 Home Runs, 51 RBI's, 52 BB's, 77 K's, +2 DRS, -3.5 Def, +3.2 bWAR/+2.8 fWAR
2022 Statistics (NYY): 33 Games, .254/.331/.404/.734 (109 OPS+), 29 Hits, 2 Home Runs, 12 RBI's, 13 BB's, 25 K's, +1 DRS, -0.4 Def, +0.7 bWAR/+0.8 fWAR
Contract Status: Set to become a Free Agent
A player that I wanted the Yankees to get at the trade deadline, Andrew Benintendi wasn't the best during his time in New York, but he also wasn't the worst. He was solid, but I can't say he really sold me on keeping him around now that he is set to become a free agent.
Through the first half of the season (before the trade deadline), Andrew Benintendi was lighting the world on fire while hitting to a .320 batting average. This was miles above every other Yankee (and before Judge hit to a a .380 batting average in September). Benintendi was also coming off a year where he won the AL Gold Glove and the Yankees needed someone to hold down a corner outfield position (this was before Cabrera made a name for himself). However, Benintendi got hurt after just over a month with the Yankees and was unable to make it back for the playoffs.
Now set to become a free agent while entering his age-28 season, there are questions with Benintendi. Do you bring him back? Do you let him go?
The Verdict: Andrew Benintendi has been an up-and-down player in his career so far. I don't know how much I'd trust him on a long-term deal if I was to pursue him in free agency. Obviously, I would offer him a qualifying offer for 2023. He's too young to want to accept that as an offer to have to prove it again. Then, if I was the Yankees and Benintendi was interested on a 5 or 6 year deal with an AAV of about $15 Million I'd start thinking about keeping him around. Benintendi is in a tough spot with Judge, Nimmo, Conforto, and Joc Pederson ahead of him in free agency, but he'll still get a solid deal out there.
2022 Statistics: 38 Games, .186/.239/.349/.588 (66 OPS+), 8 Hits, 2 Home Runs, 4 RBI's, 2 BB's, 7 K's, -2 DRS, -1.4 Def, -0.2 bWAR/0.0 fWAR (with 8 SB to 2 CS)
Contract Status: Still Under Pre-Arbitration; Under Contract through 2027
Not many baseball players can boast about having a Foolish Baseball video dedicated to them. Tim Locastro does (and it's a very fun video to watch!).
Locastro first became a Yankee in 2018 when traded for Drew Finley in November of 2018 form the Los Angeles Dodgers. He lasted until January 2019 when he was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Ronald Roman (who never made the MLB) and cash. Then he was traded back to the Yankees from the Diamondbacks in July 2021 for Keegan Curtis. Then in November 2021 the Red Sox selected him off waivers and Locastro became a free agent before the month was over. In March of 2022 he signed as a free agent with the Yankees and for the first time he lasted a full season.
Locastro was a speed-only, baserunner. He really has no other role for the Yankees and he has no minor league options remaining.
The Verdict: Even if I wanted to keep around Locastro (who would be good minor league depth) I can't see him sticking around to be a minor league player for the Yankees when he may be able to get a deal elsewhere to stay at the MLB level. It's not impossible to think about (Tyler Wade just recently signed a minor league deal with the Oakland Athletics) and if Locastro wants to stay with the team as depth, I'd offer him a minor league deal immediately. He's a nice enough player and seems like a nice guy, but I'd also encourage him to get "the bag" where and while he still can and if he can't, we'll still be here for him.