The Ideal Candidate for Each Yankee Position Need
By Derek McAdam
November 26, 2021
The New York Yankees are reportedly looking to upgrade at five different positions: catcher, first base, shortstop, center field and the starting rotation. With the current CBA set to expire in less than a week, the Yankees may be making a couple of moves to secure these roster spots for the 2022 season.
Here are the five ideal candidates for each position that the Yankees can realistically acquire via free agency or trade and who I believe they end up with.
Ideally: Willson Contreras
Contreras would come in to help with what Gary Sanchez has struggled with the most, defense. The 29-year old has only allowed three passed balls since the start of the 2020 season and has been behind the plate for nearly 150 of those games.
Although he is in the final year of his contract Contreras can give the Yankees the same offensive production as Sanchez has given, but will be a huge step to improving the team’s defense. Plus the Yankees would be in the same contract situation as Sanchez, who is also in the final year of his deal.
My prediction: Yan Gomes
If the Yankees are looking for a catcher that hits for a good average and plays great defense, they have a 34-year old veteran in free agency that they can bring in.
Gomes has been in the game for a long time and would be an upgrade to Sanchez behind the plate. The Yankees probably don’t care much about the offensive numbers, but know that Kyle Higashioka’s .180 average playing every day is not going to cut it.
Ideally: Freddie Freeman
If the Yankees were able to spend the money, there would be no better option than to acquire the 2020 MVP and 2021 World Series winner from Atlanta. Freeman is a five-time All-Star who has a career .295 average and 271 career home runs.
Freeman is also an excellent defender who can be an upgrade over Luke Voit on both sides of the ball and is also a left-handed bat that is perfect for Yankee Stadium. The problem is that Freeman would need a massive contract to leave Atlanta, which he says is where he wants to stay.
My prediction: Anthony Rizzo
Rizzo has said that he wants to return to the Yankees, and they might be able to work something out with him. As long as he is willing to accept something around the two- or three-year margin, both sides may be able to come to an agreement.
Ideally: Corey Seager
While Carlos Correa seems like the most intriguing idea for the Yankees with his solid defensive skills, Seager is very good at almost everything he does. He can hit, field and has reduced the number of strikeouts year by year.
The problem the Yankees face is that it seems as if the Dodgers are the favorites to sign Seager, or in this case, re-sign him. So the Yankees will have to look at another shortstop.
My prediction: Marcus Semien
The Yankees are reportedly prioritizing signing Semien over any shortstop, most likely for two reasons. He can hit for power and bring plenty of production to the Yankee team, but also because they would be taking him straight away from the divisional Blue Jays.
If Brian Cashman is going to spend money, it seems as if the shortstop position is where he is going to spend the most money at. Be on the lookout for this, as he may sign before the middle of next week.
Ideally: Bryan Reynolds
Starling Marte might sound like the most ideal pickup for the Yankees, but here is the problem. He’s now 33 years old and will want a long-term contract.
Instead, the ideal pick may be the Pittsburgh Pirate who took over for Marte once he was traded to Arizona, who has hit over .300 in each of his full two seasons in the big leagues.
While the Yankees will have to trade plenty of prospects over to the Pirates to get Reynolds, this would be the cheaper, and younger, alternative to Marte.
My prediction: Aaron Hicks
Here’s the problem the Yankees have run into with Hicks. Not many teams, if any, are going to be willing to take on his contract that is set to expire after the 2025 season.
If Hicks can stay healthy, he can be a decent ballplayer for the Yankees. The Yankees might have to give him another chance to prove that he can stay healthy and play center field daily. This may be his last chance for that though.
Ideally: Max Scherzer
Acquiring a workhorse such as Scherzer would not only help the Yankees rotation, but they would more than likely become instant favorites to win the World Series. Not only is Scherzer a pitcher that can come in at any time during the ballgame, but he can effectively give you seven or eight innings if needed.
The Yankees have almost no chance of getting Scherzer to the Bronx, as the Yankees did not even make the list of teams he wanted to be traded to. It doesn’t seem as if he would change his mind at this point.
My prediction: Someone Who Isn’t a Top Free Agent Pitcher
This was the toughest prediction to make because it doesn’t seem as if the Yankees are going to acquire a top pitcher. They flirt with the idea of this every year but don’t always make the big signing.
Here’s a scenario where they could look to a smaller-name pitcher to be the No. 3 or 4 guy in the rotation with Gerrit Cole and Luis Severino at the top. Let us know in the comments who you believe the Yankees will sign for the rotation or any position.