Insider asks Yankees to consider four under-the-radar free agents

Aaron Judge is in he Yankees dugout during a game in Toronto on Sept. 28, 2023.

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The baseball world expects the Yankees to make big moves for Japanese pitching sensation Yoshinobu Yamamoto or trade for Juan Soto. Mega deals are part and parcel of their team culture. However, Randy Miller of NJ Advanced Media wants the Yankees to consider some under-the-radar and cost-effective free agents.

Cost-effective free agents for the Yankees

Outfielder Tommy Pham

Tommy-Pham
X-@mlbtraderumors

Age: 36 (turning 36 on March 8, 2024).

2023 statistics: This right-handed batter, having played for the Mets and Diamondbacks in 2023, posted a .256 average in 426 at-bats. Over 129 games, he accumulated 55 runs, 109 hits, 27 doubles, 3 triples, and 16 home runs, with 68 RBIs. Known for his speed, he also stole 22 bases and maintained a .774 OPS.

Free agent ranking: Ranked No. 15 by USA Today.

Overview: Known for his impressive 92.3 exit velocity this season, ranking in the top 7%, this player showcased his offensive prowess. However, his defensive metrics were below average, with a minus-2 Outs Above Average in Baseball Savant’s rankings. His versatility was evident in making starts across various outfield positions and serving as a designated hitter. In the postseason, he hit .279 with three home runs in 16 games, including an impressive .421 (8-for-19) with a homer in the World Series. He was traded from the Mets to the Diamondbacks on August 1 in exchange for rookie league infielder Jeremy Rodriguez. Over his 10-season career spanning teams like the Cardinals, Rays, Padres, Reds, Red Sox, Mets, and Diamondbacks, he holds a career .259 average with 130 homers, 431 RBIs, and a .786 OPS across 1,005 games.

The Yankees may potentially sign Jung Hoo Lee to cover center field temporarily until Jasson Dominguez returns. Additionally, signing Tommy Pham will help fill the left-field position on an interim basis. Pham’s demeanor, his determination to win, and his positive influence in the clubhouse could similarly contribute positively to the Yankees’ overall environment.

Second-baseman Amed Rosario

Amed-Rosario
X-@baseball_ref

Age: 36 (turns 39 on Nov. 20, 2024).

2023 statistics: Split time between the Red Sox and Dodgers, with a record of 3-0 and a 3.02 ERA in 59 games, covering 59.2 innings. Recorded 42 hits, 24 runs, 20 earned runs, 3 home runs, 19 walks, and 56 strikeouts.

Free agent ranking: Ranked No. 44 by USA Today.

Projected by MLB Trade Rumors to secure a contract of 2 years with a total value of $18 million.

Overview: Amed Rosario has shifted into a utility role since being traded to the Dodgers last summer, making 19 starts at second base and seven at shortstop. Over seven seasons with the Mets (2017-2020), Guardians (2021-23), and Dodgers (2023), he holds a career batting average of .272 with a .708 OPS. Particularly effective against left-handed pitching, he was part of the trade that sent Francisco Lindor to New York in January 2021. Notably, Rosario hit a walk-off homer at Yankee Stadium on Aug. 28, 2000, during a Subway Series makeup game when the Mets were the home team. In Baseball Savant’s rankings, he ranked last among 35 qualifying shortstops with a minus-14 Outs Above Average.

Rosario could serve as a valuable utility player for the Yankees, showcasing versatility by being capable of playing both shortstop and third base. His prior experience at third base in the minors gives him confidence to handle that position. Additionally, Rosario began playing in the outfield last year and demonstrated adequacy in that role. Rosario’s speed and role as a contact hitter with the ability to produce line drives and possessing some unexpected power could potentially provide the Yankees with a boost in offensive production compared to what they received from Kiner-Falefa last season.

Pitcher Hyun Jin Ryu

HYUN-JIN-RYU
X-@Clapz23

Age: 36 (turns 37 on March 25, 2024).

Performance in 2023: Pitched for the Blue Jays, achieving a record of 3-3 with a 3.46 ERA in 11 starts, covering 52 innings. Recorded 53 hits, 25 runs, 20 earned runs, 9 home runs, 14 walks, and 38 strikeouts.

Free agent ranking: Ranked as No. 41 by USA Today.

Overview: Made a comeback on August 1 after recovering from Tommy John surgery, demonstrating consistency by conceding two or fewer runs in eight out of 11 starts. … Recorded an average fastball speed of 88.6 mph, a slight decrease from the 90-91 mph range observed in previous seasons. … Achieved a notable second-place finish in the 2019 NL Cy Young voting and secured the third position in 2020 while playing for the Dodgers. … Currently stands at eighth place among active pitchers with a career ERA of 3.27 (minimum 1,000 innings).

The Yankees would consider taking a chance on Hyun Jin Ryu. His ability to consistently throw strikes at varied speeds, keep the ball low, and log innings when he’s in good health is a key consideration in signing him. Despite returning from Tommy John surgery, Ryu demonstrated strong performance. His pitch ability, and ability to vary speeds and keep the ball low. Although Ryu has aged and lost some velocity compared to earlier in his career, he has craftiness rather than pure speed to bring results for the Yankees. Additionally, given Ryu’s recent lucrative contracts, there’s a possibility of acquiring him at a more reasonable price now.

Pitcher Ryan Brasier

Ryan-Brasier
Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Age: 36 (turns 37 on August 26, 2024).

2023 statistics: A .263 batting average, 510 at-bats, 70 runs, 134 hits, 25 doubles, 8 triples, 6 home runs, 58 RBIs, 15 stolen bases, 29 walks, 99 strikeouts, and a .683 OPS across 142 games while playing for the Guardians and the Dodgers.

Free agent ranking: Ranked No. 44 by USA Today.

Overview: Released by the Red Sox in May 2023 due to a 7.29 ERA in 20 outings, Ryan Brasier made a strong comeback with the Dodgers, signing on June 4. His performance drastically improved, finishing the season with a 2-0 record and an impressive 0.70 ERA in 39 outings for LA. After a stint in Triple-A Oklahoma City, he was called up by the Dodgers following three shutout innings over two appearances. In the 2023 season, he predominantly relied on four-seam fastballs (36.4%) and sliders (35.4%), complemented by sinkers (14.6%) and cutters (13.6%). Over his seven-season career with the Angels (2015), Red Sox (2018-23), and Dodgers (2023), Brasier holds a 3.88 career ERA through 268 appearances. Notably, as a rookie in 2018, he achieved a 2-0 record with a 1.60 ERA in 34 appearances with Boston.

After being released by the Red Sox, Brasier joined the Dodgers and rediscovered his form in Triple-A. He resembled his previous self during his tenure in Boston, known for his robust bullpen contributions. Brasier’s pitching regained its sharpness and precision, exhibiting confidence on the mound. There was a noticeable improvement in his command, as he effectively utilized a fastball that reached up to 97 mph, displaying aggression by consistently attacking the strike zone. With the Red Sox, his fastball had movement and was delivered assertively, but his command wavered until his time with the Dodgers. Brasier might be a valuable addition to the Yankees based on this resurgence.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

2 thoughts on “Insider asks Yankees to consider four under-the-radar free agents

  1. Just the kind of unhelpful signings the now uninspired Mr. Cashman would make. Ship all the young prospects the Yanks committed to out and replace them with aging mediocre talents. Will not move the needle at all.

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