The Yankees need outfield help and instead of acquiring #YankeesTwitter favorite Cody Bellinger, it could be a longtime foe instead.
Per MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, New York has also expressed interest in Rockies outfielder Randal Grichuk.
The Yankees are closely monitoring the corner outfield market, and while Cody Bellinger seems like a natural fit, another name that has come up per sources is Randal Grichuk of the Rockies. He’s an impending free agent making a little more than $3M for the rest of the season.
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) July 16, 2023
Grichuk is currently with the Rockies and batting a clean .300 with an .847 OPS. He only has five home runs and is injury prone, most recently missing the start of the season with a sports hernia. He has also played for the Blue Jays and Cardinals in ten seasons.
So how good a fit is Grichuk? He might be perfect on hitting alone. The Yankees aren’t hitting well and hitting is about all Grichuk does, especially against the Yankees. He hit a home run in the Rockies’ 7-2 win Friday and has hit .253 with 18 homers against New York for his career.
And in Yankee Stadium, he’s hit an impressive .279. Grichuk’s hard hit rate (HardHit%) is in the 70th percentile and his expected batting average (xBA) is in the 75th. The Coors Field effect plays a big role in this, with Grichuk batting .337 at home this year compared to .263 on the road.
Home/away splits aren’t often a downside, even with Rockies players, but Grichuk’s glove certainly is. The Yankees will be asking him to play both corner outfield spots and his outs above average (OAA), though +11 for his career, are -7 this year. This isn’t to say he’s an awful fielder, but rather a declining one whose career defensive runs saved (DRS) has dwindled to +3.
Except the Yankees are that desperate. They’ve started nine different players in left field alone in 2023. What’s sad is the two with the most innings there, Oswaldo Cabrera and Isiah Kiner-Falefa, are converted infielders.
In essence, the Yankees are hoping Grichuk can be more like a right-handed Jake Bauers. His job with the Yankees would be to hit first and worry about his glove later. As long as he’s giving full effort in the outfield and not making too many awful mistakes, that will be enough.
Best of all, as Feinsand notes, he’s a cheap expiring contract. In fact, Cashman might be able to get Grichuk for IKF and a bucket of balls.
In which case, why isn’t Grichuk already on a flight to meet the team in Los Angeles?