The New York Yankees introduced their manager, Aaron Boone, to the world on Wednesday. In doing so, it revealed his wearing of the #17. That all but guarantees Matt Holliday will not be returning to the team in a playing role. This is not really any surprise, as Holliday acquired 2012 Andruw Jones Disease, and just stopped hitting. By the playoffs, he was but a mere afterthought. The Yankees have had a trend of that: Andruw Jones (2012); Travis Hafner and Vernon Wells (2013); Alfonso Soriano (2014); Alex Rodriguez (2016). Players got to hot starts but suddenly everything fell apart. With Matt Holliday’s departure, the Yankees will be looking for a new one, preferably one that does not fall apart.
There are multiple options on the market and most are pretty good options for a one-year blanket deal. This means there will not be mentions of Carlos Santana, who seems to be every Yankees fan’s wish list. However, some of these players are options:
- Curtis Granderson (2017: NYM/LAD): In a piece written in October, Granderson returning is an option for the Yankees. That has not changed. Granderson is still on the free agent market with a slow market due to Giancarlo Stanton and Shohei Ohtani. However, while his time in Los Angeles was a complete dud, he still managed a 26 home run season for the Mets and Dodgers combined. The Yankees could use some left-handed power aside of Didi Gregorius and Greg Bird. Granderson fits that calling. He is something sort of grandish.
- Mark Reynolds (2017: COL): Mark Reynolds found a resurgence in Colorado. Probably thanks in part to Coors Field, his bat is more than one tool. He has been making more contact and it has worked for him. However, in their choices, they signed Ian Desmond to play first base. Reynolds’ 30 home runs will help his free agency value. The Yankees could use a good DH bat for Reynolds, but the only knock against him is that if Miguel Andujar or Gleyber Torres take off, Chase Headley will be in that role.
- Jayson Werth (2017: WAS): Health and ineffectiveness have slowed Jayson Werth the last couple years in Washington. He looks like he is a 39-year old player. However, the Yankees are looking for a bench bat and designated hitter, not the prime right fielder the Nationals signed him for. Realistically, the Yankees are looking for someone who can be a good bench bat. Unless the scouts think he is done, the Yankees will give due diligence. He is going to at least have to shave if he wears the pinstripes.
- Yonder Alonso (2017: OAK/SEA): Remember when Yonder Alonso was the bat everyone wanted at the trade deadline because he was on a crazy surge? Yeah, the Mariners got him. He promptly came back to Earth. Not a shock really, but he managed to drop back to earth and stabilize in batting average. However, unlike Oakland, Seattle is a pitcher’s park. (That’s a concern on the Ryon Healy deal last month.) Yankees fans wanted Yonder, but there was not a fit in the pinstripes. The other question with Alonso is whether or not this was a one year thing or he’ll continue to hit 28 home runs a season. There are no guarantees he will.
- Matt Adams (2017: STL/ATL): Matt Adams is a newcomer to the free agent market after the Braves let him go. However, “Big City” has some Yankees fans clamoring for him to come to the big city. Adams can play 1B, the outfield and DH, which helps, but he has one tool, his bat. Adams does not really have a future here unless Greg Bird injures himself again.
- Brandon Phillips (2017: ATL/ANA): This one would be pure irony for all the Brett Gardner for Brandon Phillips trade proposals over the years. Brandon Phillips is only a 2nd baseman by trade, but he can still hit for average. While he is likely to head to Anaheim again, there is no reason not to give him a look as a pure designated hitter in the 2018 season for the Yankees. (Starlin Castro will be second baseman until Gleyber Torres is ready, probably.) Like Werth, age is a concern for Phillips, but this is a one-year deal, not multiple years.
Ultimately, there are many players that would fit in a bench bat. Others not covered include Adam Lind, Jose Bautista, Seth Smith, and so on. However, this writer personally would prefer one of Granderson or Reynolds. They are commodities at this point in their careers. The New York Yankees need a bench bat and both fit the calling well.