The Yankees will have to wait at least 9-10 months before they can see Jasson Dominguez back in action at Yankee Stadium. Could Kevin Kiermaier be a 2024 outfield stopgap option for the Bombers?
It sounds like the long-time Ray and current Blue Jay would be open to it. The 33-year-old has spent the entirety of his 11-year MLB career playing in the American League East. His first 10 seasons were in Tampa Bay before signing a one-year deal with Toronto last winter.
The veteran outfielder is interested in keeping his AL East streak alive. But if it’s not in Toronto, he wouldn’t mind New York or Boston. Here’s what he said about it this week (via Mark Sanchez of the New York Post):
I like the AL East. I’ve played in the division my entire career. I especially like here and Fenway. Feel like I’m always hitting homers here or playing well.
Being on the turf my entire career, I enjoy being on the grass. My body feels so much better being on grass.
In 223 career plate appearances at Yankee Stadium, Kiermaier is hitting .279/.338/.510. That’s accompanied by 24 extra-base hits (10 doubles, five triples, nine home runs), 17 RBI, and 31 runs scored.
One of the risks with Kiermaier would be his injury history. Since his first full season in 2014, he’s played in 120-plus games four times (which includes 2023). Kiermaier has also been inconsistent on offense over the years. However, he’s put together a solid campaign for the Blue Jays. Across 380 plate appearances, the outfielder is hitting .270/.327/.429 with eight home runs, 35 RBI, and 55 runs scored.
That, plus some sterling defense — he ranks third among outfielders with 12 Outs Above Average (OAA) this season — has led to 2.3 fWAR.
Kiermaier’s one-year deal with the Blue Jays netted him $9 million. After a solid season, one would think his agent will look for something more in his next deal. And that could mean a small raise or a multi-year deal. But maybe he’d be willing to take less to stay in the AL East?
Who knows if this is something general manager Brian Cashman would seriously consider this winter. It’ll likely depend on how New York thinks younger players like Estevan Florial, Everson Pereira, Oswaldo Cabrera, and Jake Bauers fit into the club’s 2024 puzzle.
Even with the potential risks associated with signing Kiermaier, it’s something worth considering if the Yankees would like to supplement the outfield depth chart with another external addition.