Harrison Bader’s departure looms large, Yankees looking at alternative plan

Yankees Harrison Bader is celebrating his after hitting a home run in Yankee Stadium in May 2022.
Michael Bennington
Saturday August 26, 2023

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Centerfielder Harrison Bader will be among the Yankees players who are turning free agents after this season, which seems to be ending earlier than expected in the Bronx. As his return to the pinstripes fold looks increasingly uncertain, the Yankees are getting ready with an alternative plan.

For the past year, Harrison Bader has enjoyed the privilege of playing in his local vicinity. However, his future with the Yankees beyond another five weeks remains doubtful. Following this period, the local boy will find himself in the unfamiliar territory of becoming a free agent for the very first time in his career.

Harrison Bader’s departure looms large

Hailing from Bronxville, Harrison Bader has lived up to his defensive reputation, which was his standout attribute upon joining the Yankees in a trade from the Cardinals last year. He has consistently served as a reliable presence in the center field, whenever his fitness allowed.

However, his return to the Yankees roster next season is complicated by multiple injuries and an inconsistent offensive performance. This raises questions regarding whether the Yankees will be willing to invest the resources required to retain Harrison Bader for the upcoming year.

Harrison Bader acknowledged the collective involvement of numerous individuals from both sides in the decision-making process, as he addressed the situation on Friday. He clarified that his ultimate priority is to be part of a successful baseball team that consistently achieves victories. The New York native emphasized his commitment to playing the game with the intent of excelling and contributing to a high-performance level.

harrison-bader-new-york-yankees
Twitter-@BabbleBronx

Recognizing the storied history and tradition of the Yankees, Harrison Bader expressed his appreciation for the caliber of players surrounding him and the potential to continue being a part of the team. Nonetheless, he acknowledged the possibility of circumstances leading to a different outcome. In the present moment, the centerfielder chooses to focus on maximizing the opportunity he has while wearing the team’s uniform.

Harrison Bader is also ready to accept whatever outcome emerges, allowing events to unfold naturally without trying to control them.

“I’m surrounded by really good players and it would be amazing to come back here. But if that’s not the case for whatever reason, then so be it,” he told. “But I just take advantage of the opportunity here and now, in this uniform. We’ll just let the chips fall where they do.”

Harrison Bader knows performance only matters

According to Manager Aaron Boone, Harrison Bader has been putting in extra effort recently. His performance this season includes a batting average of .249 and an OPS of .668 over 78 games. These figures are slightly better than his career average (.246) but fall below his typical career OPS (.715).

The potency that Harrison Bader displayed during the playoffs in October of the prior year seems to have waned. Over the course of 40 games since his last home run, his batting average plummeted to .237, and his OPS declined to .577. During this period, he also experienced 36 strikeouts.

Harrison Bader acknowledges that his offensive statistics are currently falling short of the necessary standard. However, as he looks ahead, he is determined to positively contribute to the team’s offense in the coming games. His primary aim is to make a meaningful offensive impact that contributes to the team’s success, and that remains his sole concentration moving forward.

“I just want to be what I can offensively for this team to put us in a position to help win games,” Harrison Bader said. “That’s really my entire focus.”

harrison-bader-new-york-yankees
Twitter-NYY

Yankees’ alternative plan

If the Yankees opt not to re-sign Harrison Bader, the landscape of the free-agent market doesn’t present a wealth of viable alternatives. Cody Bellinger, a left-handed hitter, is anticipated to be a notable name, given his career resurgence this season while playing for the Cubs. Outside of that, there exists the possibility of securing Korean standout Jung Hoo Lee, who is expected to be posted as a potential signing during the forthcoming offseason. Alternatively, the Yankees might consider the services of two experienced outfielders known for their defensive prowess, Kevin Kiermaier and Michael A. Taylor.

However, considering the Yankees’ current focus on their farm, they are more likely to give chances to Everson Pereira and Jasson Dominguez. The 20-year-old Dominguez has recently advanced to Triple-A, while Pereira, who made his MLB debut on Tuesday, has primarily been stationed in left field during his time with the Yankees.

During Friday’s game, Boone made the decision to field utility player Isiah Kiner-Falefa in center field, leaving Pereira stationed in left. Pereira, at the age of 22, has showcased his versatility across all three outfield positions during his time in the minors. Boone conveyed his willingness to deploy Pereira as a center fielder if the circumstances require.

Nevertheless, Pereira’s long-term prospects could potentially align more with a corner outfield position.

harrison-bader-new-york-yankees
Charles Wenzelberg / NYP

Boone noted that the individual in question has experience playing in all three outfield positions, demonstrating competence across the board. He highlighted the individual’s athleticism, which enables them to manage the defensive demands of each position effectively, also mentioning their strong arm. The Yankees manager also indicated that fully disregarding the possibility of them continuing to play center field might not be entirely accurate or fair.

Harrison Bader, meanwhile, stressed that his attention is firmly fixed on the day-to-day matters of the current season, rather than dwelling on his impending free agency. He acknowledged his understanding of the circumstances surrounding his situation. However, the Bronx native emphasized that his current focus is directed solely toward delivering his utmost effort. This commitment is consistent with his approach in every season, irrespective of any potential developments that might occur during the offseason.

But the infusion of young blood is set to massively change the roster dynamics for the Yankees next season.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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23 thoughts on “Harrison Bader’s departure looms large, Yankees looking at alternative plan

  1. If a strong hitting left fielder emerges/can be obtained, then keep Bader. He is a great defender and a instills confidence in the outfield. Also enthusiastic presence all around.

    1. Cashman and Boone should have been fired during all star break but Steinbrenner doesn’t care if Yankees win or lose. He doesn’t want to be the bad boy so he doesn’t fire people. They call him no guts guy. Too intimidated by his lack of leadership and his weakness as a team owner. He doesn’t care about the fans because he thinks they will show up, win or lose.

  2. Keep Bader. He’s just in a slump. All players go through them. He’ll snap out of it and his numbers will jump right back up again and be the player we all know and love!

    1. Need to promote own good minor leaguers like other clubs. Stop buying player for what they have done and get old to soon. Get rid of over paid has been even if have to eat money. Everyone seems to swing for fences instead of trying to score runs on base.

  3. I’ve enjoyed watching Harrison Bader. I hope that the Yankees retain him. He’s a great outfielder.

  4. Keep him. He’s had a below par season, but the Yankees have bigger problems to solve if they intend to escape the cellar in 2024.

  5. Bader is the best defensive center fielder in baseball,..what the fuck is wrong with these knucleheads???get a legimate leftfielder, and a couple of dependible starting picthers who are not injury prone,..wifebeaters,..or drunken slops..Cole needs a crew,..not washed up overpaid non-performers..and of course,
    ….last ,but not least..get a skipper who players respect,..they dont have to like him,..these yankees are an embarrassing group of overpayed,non-hitting sissies…I’ve said enough!!!

    1. They should resign Bader and give him 3 more years . I love the way he hustles on everything. I wish that would rub off on Torres 🤪😉😖😫😡

    2. no doubt Bader is a great centerfielder and he was the most consistent batter during the playoffs last season but come on he can’t hit a group in the Asian center fielders were the top players all around on the team. I would love to see Mattingly or Gerardi back but think about this is it Bruins fault what manager in baseball today could win with this team nobody Cashman is the problem Cashman‘s got to go. I wish the owner would go but that’s not gonna happen.

  6. Until Mr Stiennbrenner wakes up and gets his head out of his ass and fires cashman and Boone the Yankees will not do any better regardless. But as far as bader goes I think it’s a huge mistake to let him walk. He is a good center fielder. Maybe pick up another outfielder who is capable of playing all 3 outfield positions in case. That way you could platoon any of your every day starters as needed.

  7. Harrison Bader is a solid player when he plays. That’s the caveat, though, never going to get 150 games from him. The fact that he can handle NYY baseball in October and excel is a plus. But can you honestly expect him in the lineup for 100+ games?

  8. If Bader leaves and the Yanks can’t find any suitable replacement on the open market I would like to see IKF get a shot at CF. I have been saying since Boone’s hiring that he was the worse choice for manager. No prior experience and no managerial skills that I can detect. He needs to go along with Cashman! Jeter would be great in either of those positions!

  9. Aaron Boone should write a book. The book of excuses. He lost this team and it shows. Nobody respects him as a manager. Player gets hot let’s give him a day off. To quick to pull veteran pitchers. Use your analytics for toilet paper

  10. Keep Bader , Just talk to him about taking all them called strikes and lift weights so he can knock it over the fence not just to the track

  11. Harrison Baker’s been great defensively. And I know he’s struggled at the point but he’s had injuries. So why would you let him go a known quantity and go spend a ton of money on somebody like you did at third base! For what? He’s a local kid he loves New York and he loves the Yankees I would keep him in center field right next to Aaron judge you need a left fielder let’s concentrate on getting a good left fielder and leave the good players you have on your roster. Get the hell rid of Josh Donaldson., and do something with Stanton. Why not do a Bobby Bonilla on Stanton and get rid of him he’s dead weight. Get rid of Cashman and the coaching staff and all those other analytical people haven’t done s***. How’s that big buck contract with Rendon working out for you? Before the season ever started if you would ask me I would have told you pitching was going to be an issue with the Yankees and what’s the issue with the Yankees pitching! And personally I think you should have left DJ at second base his natural position where he won two batting titles.

  12. I heard the Same criticizing of Bader as an all field no hit player in St. Louis.
    Lordy, The guy could cover half the outfield by himself—- at a Gold Glove Caliber.
    All I know is when Bader’s defense left—- it not only destroyed the Cardinals whole outfield, it threw the entire team into shambles.
    Hit or not—- Bader is a stabilizing force in the field.
    Just as the Cardinal Fans have observed , the Yankees will regret letting him slip away.

  13. There’s no option but to let Bader go. Injecting youth with an an already crowded OF and with a payroll already sky high… take the resources and allocate it else where, as needed.

  14. Harrison Badger isn’t DiMaggio or Mantle, but he’s a damn good CF. I think they have problems a hell of a lot bigger than him. Stienbrenner needs to be more like his father. He would have fired everyone except the bat boys. I’d take a good look at Cashman, he should be sweating bullets.

  15. Harrison Bader is the New Yankees outfielder period, so what needs to be done is to another outfielder perhaps Riley Greene from Detroit. Also get Gerrit Cole some better starting pitchers and for God sake the bullpen is horrible and have a little talk with Mr. Judge to start playing like 365 million dollars player should. I was 6 years old when I met Mantle, Maris And Whitie Ford oh I forgot Thurman Munson in person that the players that played the game for far less money than these players today. Finally Aaron Boone needs to go with Brian Cashman who made horrible decisions regarding this team.

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