Breaking: Yankees Potential Free Agent Target: Mitch Garver…

Entering the 2023-24 offseason, the New York Yankees desperately needed to improve their offense.

They ranked 11th in the American League in points/game and 12th in OPS+, and only three members of the 2023 offense – Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres and Jason Domínguez – recorded an OPS+ above 100, and the Martian n He only played eight matches. While Anthony Rizzo’s concussion, DJ LeMahieu’s strong end to the season, and Anthony Volpe’s youth provide hope that overall production on the field will increase, the outfield has been a total disaster heading into the season. ‘winter. Oswaldo Cabrera (58 OPS+ in 2023), Everson Pereira (20 OPS+ in 27 games) and Estevan Florial (76 OPS+ in 19 games) were the only other healthy hitters besides #99. For this reason, the Yankees prioritized the position, first adding Alex Verdugo to raise the floor and then bringing in Juan Soto in a blockbuster trade with the San Diego Padres. Thanks to these two plays, the Yankees offense looks much more dangerous today than it did a week ago. However, question marks remain. Will the much-maligned Giancarlo Stanton be able to rediscover the dangerous slugger who sent him to the All-Star Game in 2022? Will Volpe build on a promising but frustrating rookie campaign? Will young receiver Austin Wells continue the growth he saw late in the season? The Soto/Judge duo at the top of the order allows the Yankees to wait and see how these answers play out. But because they’re the Yankees, they can, if they want, throw money at the problem to reduce these problems. An interesting direction to use this money would be Mitch Garver. Garver was selected in the ninth round by the Minnesota Twins out of the University of New Mexico in 2013 and made his MLB debut in late 2017 before taking over as the starting catcher in early 2018. He is better known for his bat than for his prowess behind the plate. Garver has had an up-and-down career in Minnesota, posting strong performances in 2019 (155 wRC+, 3.9 fWAR) and 2021 (139 wRC+, 2.2 fWAR).However, in the middle of those years came a disastrous, COVID-shortened 2020, which made Gary Sánchez’s production that year (43 wRC+, -0.1 fWAR) look good. Looking for more stability and to free up some salary, Minnesota traded him to the Texas Rangers for Isiah Kiner-Falefa after the end of the 2021-22 lockout, the precursor to the infamous deal that sent Ben Rortvedt and Josh Donaldson to New York for Sánchez. and Gio Urshela. After a forearm injury ended his first Rangers season in July 2022, Garver played an important role for the World Series champions this year. He served as the team’s designated hitter and backup catcher, hitting .270/.370/.500 with 19 home runs, along with a career-high walk rate (12.8%) and his lowest strikeout rate since 2018 (25.3%). However, a series of injuries limited him to just 87 games, though he partially made up for it with an .898 OPS and 11 RBIs as Texas topped Baltimore and Houston in the early rounds. Arizona largely quieted Garver in the Fall Classic, but he came out strong with the go-ahead single from previously dominant Zac Gallen in the seventh inning of the Game 5 clincher.At first glance, Garver may seem like an unusual choice. He’s a right-handed bat who’s best deployed as a designated hitter, and while he’s no longer the defensive disaster he was early in his career thanks to his work with Yankees catching coordinator Tanner Swanson, he doesn’t fit the defense-first catch . profile that the team seems to prefer. The Yankees already have an oft-injured right-handed DH in Stanton; why would they want another one? The answer depends on how much faith the Yankees have in Stanton to stay healthy and keep himself at the plate. Because of his age (he turns 33 in January) and injury history, Garver won’t set any records this winter: MLB Trade Rumors predicts he’ll sign a three-year, $39 million contract, and FanGraphs predicts two similar years. AAV. For a player who can back up or serve as a third catcher behind Jose Trevino and Austin Wells, as well as an option at first base if Rizzo isn’t healthy, this isn’t out of the Yankees’ budget. That said, while the Yankees’ offense would certainly look deeper if Garver were available, Bronx isn’t an attractive option for a designated hitter right now, and won’t be for long with Giancarlo Stanton in pinstripes. Odds are he’ll find a team with a more clearly defined role and more at-bats for him than the Yankees can provide him, especially with Shohei Ohtani no longer on the board.

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