Less than a month to spring training, the Yanks are still watching the open market to pounce on a left fielder if the price is right.
New York is “watching” Jurickson Profar – arguably the best outfielder still available in free agency – per Jon Morosi from MLB Network.
Profar, who turns 30 next month, is an old hand, a versatile defender who has played every position except pitcher and catcher in his nine-year career. The former top prospect with the ranger comes from a resurgent campaign with the father, a season in which he slumped .243/.331/.391 with 110 wRC+ and a career-best 2.5 fWAR. He also appeared in a career-high 152 games last year, hitting 15 home runs while hitting 82 runs.
The Yankees are still looking for a left fielder and are considering all options after missing out on other free agents like Andrew Benintendi. If no steps are taken before opening day, New York would advance at the position with internal options such as Aaron Hicks, Oswaldo Cabrera and Estevan Florial.
Trading for an outfielder is also an option. New York was associated with Bryan Reynolds quite a bit this winter, another Switch-hitting outfielder recently requested a trade from the pirates.
According to Morosi, the same teams that are eyeing Profar are also staying in touch with Pittsburgh, reviewing Reynolds’ availability and what it would take to trade for the All-Star.
Profar would certainly be an upgrade for the Yankees, but he comes at a price. Morosi reports that Profar wants a contract in the range of $15 million per season over two years. This is based on how the outfielder market has evolved over the past few months. Profar is also a client of Scott Boras — Boras upped the ante for free-agent outfielders this winter when he brokered an eight-year, $162 million deal for Brandon Nimmo, who returned to the meads.
Even as the Yankees add Profar and increase their payroll after a busy offseason, another move may need to be made in the New York outfield. Florial is out of minor league options and Hicks is under contract for three more years to earn an additional $10 million in 2023. Downgrading Cabrera (who has options) for the sake of roster flexibility would be a mistake as the former prospect has shown he belongs among the players at the top flight club and deserves more playing time during his first stint in pinstripes last season.
Cabrera is most valuable in a utility role and plays a variety of positions. He could absolutely beat Hicks, Florial and others for the starting job this spring if New York doesn’t take other steps.
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