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Yankees 2017 Potential Free Agent Target: Colby Rasmus

Could Rasmus’s left-handed power be a match for Yankee Stadium?

MLB: Texas Rangers at Houston Astros Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Originally a first round pick by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2005, Rasmus has consistently hit for power throughout his major league career. Between 2012-2015, he averaged 22 home runs per season. In those same years, His wRC+ in each season was 82, 130, 104, and 117 while slugging .452. There’s little doubt that Rasmus is capable of being a productive left-handed hitter, but there is plenty of doubt that he would be a good signing for the Yankees.

Defensive metrics are all over the place on Rasmus but the general consensus is that he is not a good fielder. Another troubling sign is that, over his career, he has incrementally become more and more of a pull hitter. As a rookie, he pulled 41.2% of batted balls and 26.7% went the opposite way. Last season, 53% were pulled and 19.8% went the opposite way. It’s no surprise that he had a career low batting average last season of .206. To be fair, he had a career low BABIP also, so maybe some of that was bad luck.

2016 Statistics: 107 G, 417 PA, .206/.286/.355, 15 HR, 54 RBI, 75 wRC+, 1.4 fWAR

Age on Opening Day 2017: 30

Position: Outfield

Could he be a fit for the Yankees? It’s hard to imagine. For outfielders, the team already has Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury, Aaron Judge, and Aaron Hicks (all capable of being starters.) There is also a grab-bag of fill-ins, Rob Refsnyder, Mason Williams, Tyler Austin, and even Matt Holliday could probably play some emergency innings in the corner spots (let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.)

Still, I can imagine Rasmus’s swing being a good match for Yankee stadium. Yankees fans might remember Rasmus hitting a home run against Masahiro Tanaka in the 2015 wild card game. It wasn’t that bad of a pitch but Rasmus put a great swing on it and essentially ended the season for the Yankees. That post-season, he went on to hit 3 more home runs against the Kansas City Royals in the ALDS.

Wherever he ends up, I expect Rasmus to hit 20+ home runs, with low average, and poor defense. He’ll probably get a one-year deal for not a whole lot of money. That means that there is a place for him on a contending team somewhere, it just probably isn’t on the Yankees.