Brian Cashman has said the team will be evaluating the positions and mentioned centerfield as a possible area of concern. Brett Gardner is officially a free agent. Although we can suspect a reunion for one more year if he doesn’t decide to retire, let’s see who can play the outfield along with Joey Gallo and Aaron Judge.

WITHIN THE ORGANIZATION

Aaron Hicks is due to return to the team in 2022. At this point, it is tough to assume he will stay healthy all season. This could be something the Yankees are concerned with. He will be entering his fourth year under the seven-year contract he signed. It seems like every season he lands on the Injury List and Brett Gardner takes over. It’s a risk if the Yankees go forward with it because they will still need to add a backup outfielder in the event that Hicks doesn’t remain healthy. Clint Frazier is still recovering from what is going on with him. The Yankees were using him as their everyday left fielder in 2021 but his mysterious blurry vision forced him to land on the IL.

Fans have mentioned the possibility of calling up Estevan Florial to play center field. To be honest, it seems the Yankees may not think he is ready. They had the opportunity to call him up and stay with the team during the season when both Hicks and Frazier were out but they instead had Miguel Andujar play LF. Speaking of Andujar, that’s a no from me on him playing in the outfield. I believe it was an experiment to have his bat in the lineup, which wasn’t much help. Also to boost his trade value since his defense at third base isn’t great. 

SCHWARBER

The Yankees have tried for Kyle Schwarber a couple of times. In the 2016 trade deadline when trading Aroldis Chapman, it was said that they initially wanted Schwarber in the deal. Obviously, they got Gleyber Torres instead. They also tried again at the 2021 trade deadline before the Red Sox landed him. With Schwarber now a free agent, the Yankees can try again. He can play left field while Joey Gallo plays center.

ONLY IN MY DREAMS

J.D. Martinez has decided to stay in the last year of his five-year contract with the Red Sox. He can play the outfield when needed and can attract many teams even on the trade block. Martinez is a veteran who players can learn from. Like how Mookie Betts did in 2018 or how Rafael Devers and Alex Verdugo have done. J.D. doesn’t just bring a great bat to the lineup. He brings a brilliant offensive mind to the team. That said, this could happen if the Yankees decide to have Giancarlo Stanton play left field more, which will put Gallo in center. J.D. can also give Aaron Judge and Stanton days off their feet during the season if needed.

It isn’t crazy to think that the Red Sox will listen to offers regarding Martinez in order to “relieve the payroll a bit”. He will be making $19.3M in 2022. If the Red Sox are going to appear to be interested in signing a big contract, no doubt they will want to remove some money first. The Yankees shouldn’t be ruled out just because of the rivalry. It seems the times of the Red Sox and Yankees never trading to each other is slowly fading away when it comes to “payroll relief”. Adam Ottavino was traded to the Sox to relieve some of the payroll for the Yankees. Ottavino did help the Red Sox during the season contrary to what some Yankee fans want to see. 

WHO ELSE?

If the Yankees are looking to keep Giancarlo Stanton as the DH most of the season, they do have options. Starling Marte seems to be a popular name among Yankee fans. Chris Taylor is another name floating around that can be in the Yankee’s radar. A random name that could be considered is Andrew Benintendi or Bryan Reynolds from the Pirates. 

I mentioned Kris Bryant as a possibility for first/third base last week but he can also play the outfield. Guys like Joc Pederson, Kevin Pillar and Eddie Rosario are also available. I do not see a reunion with Andrew McCutchen happening. 

There are many options for the outfield situation the Yankees have. They can either accept that it is better for Stanton to play left field every day, acquire a center fielder that will keep Gallo at left, or have Gallo play center every day and acquire a left fielder. One thing is for sure, we can expect the Yankees to “check-in” on all possible options.