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3 free agents the New York Yankees should target, including Michael Brantley

Rephael Negnewitzky
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Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The narrative for Aaron Boone’s New York Yankees in the postseason hasn’t been too generous to fans. Coming from a club that was on a steady pace for 100+ wins, an exit in the ALCS is demoralizing.

The Houston Astros have taken ownership of the Yanks in the postseason. The Yankees have been ousted four times in the past decade by Houston. Although the Astros failed to conform with MLB regulations in 2017 and 2018 they seem to have the edge over New York regardless.

Clearly, the Yankees are pressing the wrong buttons and a quick solution could be in the upcoming free-agent class. While general managers Brian Cashman’s strategy of constructing a team solely on the ability to hit home runs has its upside, timely hitting is a necessity. For a club that hit the most home runs in the regular season, timely hitting has not been a strong suit.

Related: San Francisco Giants could target other big free agents to help entice Aaron Judge

Here are three free-agent players who can help the New York Yankees obtain its first championship in nearly 15 years next season.

Josh Bell

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Anthony Rizzo is on the brink of free agency with a player option worth $16 million for 2023. Rizzo’s departure means that the first base is vacant and would need reinforcements from the outside. That would be Josh Bell.

Bell completely abandoned the ship in the second half of the season, after the Nats shipped him to San Diego via the Soto package (.194/.317/.289). Although the 30-year-old was arguably the hottest hitter in baseball through the first half and ultimately proved himself in the NLCS with a six-hit series.

The switch-hitter is productive from both sides of the plate which integrates well with a heavy-righty lineup such as the Yankees. He has the tendency to spray the ball to every segment of the field regardless of his handedness (hitting the other way: .365/.359/.565). Defensively, Bell is a downgrade from Rizzo but his glove isn’t as versatile to platoon him elsewhere.

Michael Brantley

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Left-hand-hitting Brantley underwent arthroscopic shoulder surgery in August which sidelined him for the remainder of the season. He played just 64 games before landing on the injured list on June 27. Moreover, he will become a free agent once the World Series concludes and the Yankees are certainly a team of interest.

Trade deadline acquisition Andrew Benintendi is headed to free agency, yet the Yanks will watch him closely. 35-year-old Brantley could be the next left-fielder to suit up in pinstripes if things go south with Benny.

The veteran Astro is a hitting machine (2022: .288/.370/.416) that blends quite well with a respectable glove in left field. Through 29 games of play in left field, Brantley amassed 2 Defensive Runs Saved which ranked 29th in the league. At the plate, Brantley’s sixth sense is the strike zone and pitchers will rarely sneak one by.

Adam Frazier

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Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

30-year-old Frazier was on the downside of the horizon this season but his bat can only be contained to a certain extent. The second baseman hit five points below the league average of .243 which is not too promising compared to previous years.

The trajectory of his career completely flipped when he emerged as an all-star in 2021. Frazier hoped to boast similar numbers in 2022 but fell off the map in Seattle uniform.

Considering Frazier’s reputation both on and off the field, it wouldn’t be a shocker for him to bounce back. On the field, Frazier is an exponential upgrade compared to Torres and can put together a structured at-bat no matter the circumstance.