The top of the free agent market moved relatively fast this offseason. There’s still a significant crop of veteran free agents on the market, however, and some of them could remain available over the next few weeks as teams round out their rosters before spring training.
The Yankees’ 26-man roster appears pretty much set, but trades and injuries can always change things at a moment’s notice, and Brian Cashman is always looking to improve his club. Remember, in 2018 the Yankees signed Neil Walker to a one-year deal on March 12th. Last season they swung a trade for Mike Tauchman on March 23rd, slightly reshaping the roster just days before the opener.
Expect the Yankees to keep an eye on these remaining free agents if they continue to go unsigned:
Maybin came to the Yankees in exchange for cash considerations in late April of last season, and in 82 games, he posted some of the best offensive production of his career. Just a year after signing a minor-league deal with the Indians, it looked like Maybin was due for a major-league contract that would price him out of the Yankees’ range.
However, he has yet to sign with another team, and the Yankees could keep an eye on his status moving forward. Aaron Boone raved about his veteran presence in the clubhouse, and Maybin really seemed to enjoy his time in New York last season. The Yankees have more than enough depth at the outfield positions right now, but they could have Maybin at the top of their list if they discover a need for an outfielder.
The Yankees have turned lemons into lemonade with infielders like Didi Gregorius, Gio Urshela, and even DJ LeMahieu. Their roster is loaded at all the infield positions right now, but the departure of Gregorius forces Gleyber Torres to play shortstop and takes away a bit of their flexibility to move LeMahieu around the diamond like they did last season.
Yolmer Sanchez is a 27-year-old infielder coming off a Gold Glove-season and was a bit of a surprise cut by the Chicago White Sox. He has the defensive capability to play all around the infield, and he’s driven in over 55 runs each of the past two seasons. Sanchez has done enough in his career to warrant a major-league deal somewhere with more opportunity, but as long as he remains on the market, he should be on the Yankees’ radar.
At age-35, Brandon Kintzler has as lengthy a track record of MLB success as any free-agent reliever on the market. He’s had some ups and downs in recent years—as have most relief pitchers—but the right-hander recorded a 2.68 ERA in 57.0 innings for the Cubs last season, working his way into a set-up role. He wouldn’t have that type of role in New York, but a middle reliever who could give the Yankees 60 innings or so could prove to be quite valuable on the right deal. It’s more likely that the Yankees give some of their younger pitchers an opportunity to prove themselves, but there’s no replacement for Dellin Betances on the market, and Kintzler might be the closest thing they could get at this point.