Ruth. Gehrig. Maris. Jackson.
What do the aforementioned players have in common?
They were all left-handed Yankee sluggers.
The Yankees have traditionally had a left-handed lineup or at least a balanced one between righties and lefties. The current Yankees lineup, on the other hand, is ridiculously right-handed. With the departure of Didi Gregorius and the loss of Aaron Hicks to an elbow injury, the Yankees have only one left-handed hitter in their everyday lineup. That man is veteran outfielder, Brett Gardner.
Since making this offseason’s headline move (signing Gerrit Cole), the Yankees have been rather quiet relative to previous winters. The Yankees let Dellin Betances, Didi Gregorius, and Austin Romine, all of whom have been with the team for quite some time, walk in free agency.
The loss of Didi Gregorius pushed Gleyber Torres to shortstop and made D.J. LeMahieu the everyday second baseman. While LeMehieu’s performance in 2019 has definitely guaranteed him a spot playing every day in 2020, his original purpose on the team was to be a “super-utility” player who would not have an official position, but rather would allow each of the other everyday infielders to take a day off.
Now that Didi has walked, LeMahieu is not the “super-utility” guy, and instead, Tyler Wade has taken his place.
Wade, a left-handed hitter, has shown that he can do everything on the diamond other than pitching and hitting. He is an elite fielder with elite speed and base-running abilities.
As was demonstrated last year, the “super-utility” role is an important one for the Yankees, as they have had their share of injury concerns throughout the team. Tyler Wade is a solid backup plan but should never be your starting shortstop or second baseman.
Depth is great until you have to start it.
This is why Brock Holt is the perfect solution for the Yankees.
The 31-year-old Holt plays multiple positions, bats left-handed, has been on a championship-winning team, and has hit pretty good for average with a decent OBP. He doesn’t run and field like Tyler Wade anymore, but he is the far superior hitter than Wade.
The former All-Star has also shown that he can produce in the playoffs. Holt has the only postseason cycle in MLB history which he achieved in the Bronx against the Yankees. He also carries an impressive career postseason slash-line of .297/.381/.595 in 42 plate appearances.
Holt’s versatility along with his left-handed bat would bring some balance to this Yankees team, as well as his low strikeout rate to balance out the Yankees’ insane amount of strikeouts.
The market for Holt hasn’t been too clear, but he is likely looking for a multi-year deal in the $20 million range. The Yankees have been hesitant to give out any significant deals considering the major commitment they made by signing Gerrit Cole to a nine-year deal worth $324 million, but they will likely need to add another infielder by the end of the offseason.
Brock Holt should be their guy.