Back in March when CC Sabathia and Luis Severino were both on the injured list, the Yankees signed Gio Gonzalez to a minor league contract. The move added pitching depth to a roster that couldn’t foresee how many injuries were to come. It isn’t unusual for the Yankees’ front office to go out and sign a veteran player. With so many new injuries since the Gonzalez signing, it might be time to once again look into who is available.
The offseason is far behind us but there are some players still available and ready to contribute when the eventual call comes. I’m not here to speak about Craig Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel. As much as some Yankee fans would love the addition of either pitcher, it just doesn’t seem likely based on how the organization is spending their money and these pitchers’ steep asking prices.
Instead, pieces like Denard Span, Brad Miller, and Evan Gattis could be interesting additions. Acquiring any of these veteran hitters could result in a contract similar to Gonzalez, which would give them some time in the minor leagues and potentially an opt-out date. They would probably also get the added bonus of a couple million dollars if they make the big league team. Here’s a look at what these players could offer.
Over the last two seasons Span’s production has been just over average with finishes of 101 and 112 wRC+. Where Span does perform above average is with his plate discipline. Last season he had a swinging strike rate of just 5.6%. If we take into account last year, the only current Yankees with a better rate than Span are Brett Gardner (4.5%) and DJ LeMahieu (5.2%). Both of these guys are two of the best contact hitters in the league, but Span was not far behind them.
Completely different from Span, Miller doesn’t mind striking out if it means keeping his power approach. Just a few years ago during 2016 we saw Miller hit 30 home runs to complete his most productive season yet. His strikeout rate has increased over the past three seasons, but if he could lower his rate to around 23% he could provide the Bombers with the surprise performance they need.
Out of the three, Gattis would provide the most power by far but would also be the most one-dimensional player. The downside would be losing a designated hitter spot that the Yankees tend to leave open to play an extra outfielder or infielder like they’ve been doing with Luke Voit and Greg Bird. Adding a player who cant play very well in any defensive position doesn’t seem like a move the Yankees would currently make, but if they feel the offense could use the boost they should look into Gattis.
With the current performances they are getting from LeMahieu, Clint Frazier, and Giovanny Urshela, the Yankees might not consider signing anyone anytime soon. Their depth so far has given them players they can use to stop the bleeding. Gary Sanchez’s return will only make the lineup that much deeper, and Aaron Hicks and Giancarlo Stanton were both recently reported to be working their way back as well. If the Yankees keep getting injured, though, looking into free agency might be the next option.