While the New York Yankees sit with the second best record in baseball in 2018, as a Yankee fan you can never not think about what could happen in the near future. Especially when in the near future is the 2018 off season loaded with talents like outfielder Bryce Harper and infielder Manny Machado both of whom have expressed interests in playing for the Yankees at some point in their careers. If the Yankees have their choice in the off season they should go with Harper.
The first reason the Yankees should go with Harper is because he is a left handed power bat which would compliment the right handed power of Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Gary Sanchez. While its true the Yankees are getting above average production from the likes of Aaron Hicks and Didi Gregorious from the left side, you really can’t qualify either one as a power threat. There is also the fact that Aaron Hicks hasn’t been the epitome of health and Didi Gregorious before coming to New York was a failed prospect. Meanwhile the power bat the Yankees thought they had from the left side in Greg Bird putting it mildly hasn’t quite lived up to what the Yankees envisioned him being. If the Yankees can add Harper in the off season it would give them that power left handed bat complimenting their right handed heavy power hitting lineup.
The second reason the Yankees should go with Harper is because they already have a future all star third baseman in rookie Miguel Andujar who is well on his way to becoming the 2018 American League Rookie of the Year. While its true the Yankees can use an upgrade defensively at third base, there’s no reason to think Andujar who is only 23 can’t improve his defense there. Not to long ago, another rookie by the name of Derek Jeter, started his Yankees career makin 26 errors at short stop and playing less than average defense. It would appear he turned out pretty well there. While he will never be Manny Machado at the hot corner, Andujar’s all star level bat will surely make up for his defense.
The Yankees once considered to have outfield depth galore are now playing Shane Robinson in 90% of the games due to injuries to Aaron Judge, Clint Frazier, and a balky hamstring to Giancarlo Stanton who is now being forced to DH. The Yankees depth evaporated quick when they traded away outfielders like Billy McKinney, Dustin Fowler and others to upgrade other areas or for future assets. There’s an old saying in baseball that you can never have enough pitching. Well in the Yankees case this year it appears you can never have enough outfielders. While the Yankees at one point envisioned Clint Frazier taking over LF after Brett Gardner, the injury history of Frazier has to make them somewhat hesitant to hand him the starting job in 2019. The thought of Bryce Harper taking over for Brett Gardner in left field sounds better than Manny Machado taking over for Miguel Andujar at third base. The Yankees will get far more production in Left field from Gardner to Harper than they will Andujar to Machado at the hot corner; not to mention having to shift their infield around on the off chance that Andujar could be a better 1st baseman. Furthermore, the Yankees signing Bryce Harper would then give them the options of trading a Clint Frazier or Estevan Florial for a deal for starting pitching.
The final reason is one Hal Steinbrenner will love, the idea of Bryce Harper playing left field in Yankee Stadium will be too tempting for him to pass on. This is the guy that wears the number 34 because the two numbers together adds up to 7 because of his idol Mickey Mantle. His favorite player when he was growing up was former Yankees captain Derek Jeter. It has always been a dream of Harper to represent the pinstripes. If the Yankees sign Harper, think of the merchandise sales from his jersey, or the ticket sales to see a lineup that includes not only Bryce Harper but Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Gary Sanchez, talk about a real murderers row. Above all Hal Steinbrenner is a business man, and Bryce Harper adds more business, money and revenue to the Yankees than Manny Machado will.
The Yankees will continue to play baseball in 2018 and attempt to finish out the season on a high note going for their 28th World Series championship, but as a fan of the team its still hard not to think of what could be if the Yankees do end up signing Bryce Harper after the season is over. The Yankees need pitching first and foremost and will address that, but if the Yankees have their choice of Harper or Machado in the off season, it will be Bryce Harper.