With the news that the Yankees are now out of the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes, Brian Cashman will have to look elsewhere for a 5th starter along with a designated hitter.
A little less than a year ago, the Yankees signed veteran Matt Holliday to fill the void at DH, and for a while, it looked like the Yankees struck gold. The 37-year old hit to a .262/.366/.511 slash line in 68 first half games. However, a mid-season viral infection and then a lower back injury halted his success at the plate, and the role of DH was platooned with Chase Headley, Jacoby Ellsbury and others.
Now, the Yankees might have to seek out another low-risk free agent that can provide an offensive threat to the Bombers’ already power-heavy lineup. A few potential options are Mark Reynolds, Mitch Moreland, Mike Napoli, or possibly bringing Curtis Granderson back on a cheap one-year contract where maybe Yankee Stadium can rejuvenate his power stroke.
An alternative route could also be to use the DH slot as a revolving door to rest players throughout the long 162 game season, which may be what the Yankees want to use the spot for in the first place. Also, if Gary Sanchez doesn’t improve on his MLB worst 16 passed balls, he very well could see some time at DH.
Sanchez followed up his breakout 2016 stint with a solid 33 homer campaign in 2017, leading all MLB catchers, but that doesn’t cover up his declined ability behind the plate. If a scenario arises where his defense doesn’t improve or even worsens, don’t be surprised if the 24-year old takes on the DH role while Austin Romine slides into the starting catcher spot.
For a Yankee ballclub that scored the 2nd most runs in baseball in 2017, the ability to add another capable bat at DH would just be gravy to an already potent core of young stars. With a lineup that consists of names like Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird and others, there really isn’t a strong need for improvement. However, don’t be surprised if Brian Cashman adds another respectable name to the list.