There are many big names for the Yankees to go after in this year’s free agent class, but there are many under the radar targets as well.
No one can argue that adding Manny Machado and Adam Ottavino would significantly improve the Yankees. Machado is among baseball’s top ten players, and Ottavino is one of the games filthiest, and both would fit two of the teams biggest needs.
However, under the radar moves help shape teams nearly every season. For example, look at the Dodgers trade for Matt Kemp leading into the 2018 season.
The Braves sent Kemp to the Dodgers is a swap full of veterans that were supposed to help both teams finically. Instead, it provided the Dodgers with an all-star player who led them back to the World Series.
Under the radar, moves can be made in both the trade market and through free agency. Let’s look at some options for the Yankees in both markets.
Relief Pitcher: Andrew Chafin
There’s no question the Yankees need arms for the bullpen. Zach Britton and David Robertson are both free agents, and there is a chance neither returns. Even if the team brings back one of the two or signs Adam Ottavino, the Yankees need bullpen arms as Lance Lynn who came out of the pen when not starting signed with the Rangers.
The Diamondbacks are selling, and one of their hidden jewels is reliever Andrew Chafin. The 28-year-old southpaw has been effective in all but one year of his career.
Outside of a bad 2016 where he had an ERA over six Chafin has posted an ERA under four each season of his career. His best was in 2015 where he posted a 2.76 ERA but, his second best came last season. Chafin posted a 3.10 ERA, struck out 53, and did not give up a single home run.
Being a ground ball pitcher is always a plus when pitching at Yankee Stadium, and Chafin is just that. He would be a great middle relief option for the Yankees.
Infielder: Jurickson Profar
Jurickson Profar’s name has been floating around the Yankee rumor mill for several years. Now the timing may make the most sense to bring in the 25-year-old.
Manny Machado is no lock to sign with the Yankees and even if he does sign the Yankees need bench depth.
Neil Walker and Adeiny Hechavarria are free agents leaving holes on the bench. Profar could fit this perfectly as he can provide days off for second basemen and shortstop.
Assuming Machado doesn’t sign Profar could battle for the second base job and allow Torres to slide over to shortstop until Didi Gregorius. Profar provides solid defense and great pop as he hit 20 home runs and drove in 77 runs for the Rangers in 2018.
Profar makes sense with Machado or without him.
Free Agent options:
Infielder: Yangervis Solarte
The only name to previously dawn the pinstripes on this list makes a lot of sense for the 2019 club.
Yangervis Solarte played his first 75 big league games with the Yankees before being traded to the Padres for Chase Headley. In the Bronx, Solarte batted .254 with six home runs and 31 RBI’s. Since then, Solarte has been a productive player almost every season.
In three and a half years with the Padres Solarte played in over 100 games each season. His most productive season was 2016 where he hit .286 with 15 home runs.
Reliever: Dan Jennings
Dan Jennings has pitched for many different teams. Marlins, White Sox, Rays and most recently the Brewers.
In each of his stops, he has been extremely effective never posting an ERA higher than 3.99. Jennings is a free agent option that makes a ton of sense for the Yankees to pair with one of the big-name relievers like Robertson and Britton they will likely sign. Jennings pitched in 72 games for the NL Central champion Brewers in 2018 pitching to a 3.22 ERA.
The batting average against was a little high at .275, but in his career, it is a respectable .257. Jennings also provides the Yankees another left-handed arm which plays well for Yankee Stadium. In a mid-relief role, Jennings would be a solid fit in Pinstripes.