The offseason is slowly coming to an end for the Yankees, but looking at the available free agents there are still a few that the club could capitalize on.
The New York Yankees’ offseason spending might be over. They could move forward with the team they have now and still be a top-five team in baseball. Or they could add a few more pieces and get a little bit better.
Of course, New York should capitalize on 26-year-old superstars Manny Machado and Bryce Harper. But at this point, it seems highly unlikely and I’m tired of reading about, so I’m not going to waste anyone’s time by stating the obvious. I would never completely count the Yankees out, but it just doesn’t seem realistic right now, unless their markets absolutely crash and Brian Cashman comes swooping in at the last moment.
Instead, I’m going to focus on three realistic free agents who the Yankees should jump on while they still have a chance. So, let’s get started.
The Yankees could add another depth piece with a lot of versatility in Derek Dietrich. He’s not a great defender, but he can play first base, second base, third base, and the outfield.
Last season, Dietrich hit .265/.330/.421 with 16 home runs. That amounted to a 112 OPS+, which is above average. He was cut by the Marlins and might be a guy who doesn’t get signed until spring training comes around.
That means the Yankees could probably get him pretty cheap. How does one year at $4 million sound?
Although the Yankees already have six starting pitchers, they are reportedly in the market for another one. Not to mention, it’s likely Sonny Gray gets traded before spring training, and there are a lot of question marks in the rotation.
Luis Severino was awful in the second half last season, Masahiro Tanaka’s elbow is a ticking time bomb, James Paxton is injury-prone, and JA Happ and CC Sabathia could run out of gas at any time. You can never have too much pitching and a swingman/long reliever could come in handy down the road.
Jeremy Hellickson could be a great fit. He was hurt for a large chunk of the season last year, but he pitched well and he’s familiar with the AL East. He was excellent his first three seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays and after being somewhat inconsistent the last few years, he seemed to have regained his form last season.
Hellickson pitched to a 3.45 ERA and 1.073 WHIP in 2018. And the Yankees could probably get him on a cheap one-year deal. He’s not the best starting pitcher on the market, but he’s serviceable and that’s all you need out of a swingman/long reliever.
Gio Gonzalez is another guy who could fit the swingman/long reliever role. He would provide insurance for the starting rotation and is a candidate for a bounce-back year.
Last season, Gonzalez struggled to a 4.21 ERA and 1.444 WHIP. But he played much better after being traded to the Milwaukee Brewers, pitching to a 2.13 ERA and .947 WHIP in 25.1 innings.
He has a career ERA of 3.69 and he limits home runs (0.8 HR/9). I think the Yankees could sign him to a one-year “prove it” sort of deal. It’s a low risk, high reward move that could pay big dividends for the Bronx Bombers.
The Yankees could stand pat and not make any more moves this offseason. They could sign Manny Machado and trade Miguel Andujar for Corey Kluber, or sign Bryce Harper. Or they could make a couple more savvy moves like these that could help down the stretch.