With the New York Yankees’ focus being primarily to bolster pitching, one main component could turn their offensive unit into a dangerous one. 

You already know that the 2017 New York Yankees‘ team is way more than one or two pieces away from being a legitimate contender.

Just last week, general manager Brian Cashman mentioned that starting and relief pitching is priority No. 1, which is ideal given the predicament within the pitching unit. But, it’s not the only hole in need of filling.

Even though they will get Greg Bird back from his season-ending shoulder injury, the offense could use at least one more addition to further improve their American League-worst .228 batting average with runners in scoring position.

Better yet, they could use a right-handed bat to coincide with designated hitter (and backup catcher) Brian McCann. Why? The simple answer is that right-handed DH’s struck out 71 times against left-handers in 2016, good enough for second-most in the AL.

On the flip side, (lefty-hitting DH’s facing RHP) their overall batting average and on-base percentage ranked seventh in the AL while having the third-fewest K’s, third-highest batting average and sixth in OBP.

With a full season of the man that joined Yogi BerraJohnny Bench and Mike Piazza as the only catchers in history to have more than 20 home runs in 10 straight seasons, a DH from the right side could help make that lineup slot pose a great threat.

Now, for starters, Cashman doesn’t necessarily have to spend anything to have an effective bat to supplement McCann’s mere .662 OPS against southpaws.

Tyler Austin, despite striking out in 43% of his 83 at-bats, went 6-for-12 with two home runs in his last five games of his first cup of coffee and owned a .348/.444/.652 overall slash line with a 1.097 OPS against lefties.

What made Austin unique was his clutch gene along with all five of his home runs were smashed to the opposite field — at an average of 375.8 feet, according to ESPN home run tracker.

As mentioned, though, he did strikeout in 43% of his at-bats and while he has a track record of perseverance, he is an unproven kid who is, by no means, a given to provide the pop from the right side that will drive New York’s offense into a sturdy one.

On the market, there are some names Brian Cashman could perform a bid for in order to fulfill that spot and again, bring his lineup back into perhaps the Top-10 of baseball.

One of those names is Matt Holliday, who contract with the St. Louis Cardinals has come to an end after they did not pick up his option and chose to administer a $1 million buyout. The slugger with just under 300 career home runs is now a free agent.

Despite hitting 20 home runs a year ago, his career-low .782 OPS poses as a question mark as deterioration is evidently having an effect on the 36-year old, so perhaps he isn’t the archetypical option.

Another possible addition could be Billy Butler. You know, the big guy New York brought along on Sept. 15 to strengthen their efforts against left-handers and boy did they enjoy their portion of country breakfast. 

Through 12 games in the Bronx, the 30-year old went 10-for-29 (.354) with one home run as the team’s designated hitter and even spent three games over at first base.

Small sample size, sure, but to have his bat in the lineup (as a DH) against left-handers could be profitable for the long haul of 162 games.

In his career against left-handed pitching, Butler owns a career slash line of .300/.382/.492 with an OPS of .874 and 55 home runs.

Additionally, among right-handed hitting first basemen and designated hitters since 2007, Butler is in the top-20 in home runs, OPS, and in the top-10 in batting average, hits, and RBI.

For comparison, his batting average (.290) is behind the likes of Miguel Cabrera (.325), Albert Pujols (.295), and Paul Goldschmidt (.299), but ahead of Alex Rodriguez (.276), Edwin Encarnacion (.267), Jose Bautista (.258).

No, he’s not the most dangerous bat but he is a solid right-handed contact-driven hitter with some pop, a history of success against southpaws, and a perfect compliment for the left-handed McCann.

Again, we’ll go ahead and mention that a move to compliment McCann with a right-handed DH isn’t necessarily essential nor should it be on the top of Cashman’s to-do list.

If Butler is seeking a multi-year contract, then moving on is justifiable. Yet, if you can bring him to the Bronx on a one-year deal (which could be possible given his clubhouse dispute in Oakland), no one can fight the risk especially when it bolsters an offense that desperately needs to be reinforced from the right side.




 

2 COMMENTS

  1. The Yankees are in desperate need of starting pitching and bullpen help. We can buy bullpen help if Stingy Hal forks over the cash. However, the starting pitching market is weak and we should NOT overpay for an old guy like Rich Hill. So, we will have to trade to upgrade our starters. Brian Mccain, Bret Gardner and a prospect or two should be somehow packaged to bring back the best starting pitcher(s) we can get. We will not have a stud rotation but we can build a much better consistent rotation. The reason you part with a prospect or two is due to this KEY STATISTIC THAT EVERYONE WANTS TO IGNORE. STUDIES have shown that 70% of the top 100 prospects FAIL!!!!! This key fact leads to the other point you made. Our offense was pathetic last year. Given the 70% failure rate of top 100 prospects, coupled with, the fact that all of the promising youngsters we are depending on have under a year of experience – we should NOT totally rely on them no matter how high the upside potential! So the answer is NOT to sign a complement to Mccain, who we need to trade for pitching, but buy one of the PROVEN and TESTED run producing bats on the market NOW!!! Doing so will not derail our youth movement. This person will become the primary DH while we allow our young BUT UNPROVEN talent to either develop or flame out as ,statistically speaking, 70% will!!!! We need a “Big Poppy” to take pressure of the MONSTER expectations everyone is putting on the kids and to provide balance and insurance against the zillion things that COULD go wrong with young talent. The Yankees are well aware of this but if they can get the fan base to buy into the “let the kids play” propaganda, Stingy Hal has the cover he needs NOT to do what is best for the team.

    • You have seemed to glare over the fact that A) I have stressed since day 1 of the offseason that a starting pitcher is priority number one, then a closer (and perhaps middle relief) then bring a bat in. In that order. B) I have ALSO mentioned Cashman ought to part with some prospects. Realistically, you can’t have all these kids because they either won’t break the pros, develop, or even have a fit. C) McCann has been content with his new position with the team since they sold at the deadline. He sold his Georgia home and has established his life here in NY. No chance he waives his no-trade clause unless he will not play- which he won’t. He’s the DH and backup catcher. you’ll see him catch 2-3 times a week. The guy still valuable and loves it here so one glaring weakness you see is: production against LHP. This isn’t the answer to make the Yankees a World Series contender. This team is half a dozen moves away from that. I appreciate you pointing out clear observations, however, this article isn’t an answer to all the problems on this flawed roster. Given the fact that McCann isn’t going anywhere no matter how much fans yell, a consistent right-handed DH can provide a jolt to an offense that apparently is in need of one. Have a good day.