The Yankees still remain focused on bringing back infielder D.J LeMahieu, as SNY insider Andy Martino noted earlier on Thursday, but it sounds like another veteran hitter is at least on their radar.
According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Yankees have had contact with veteran outfielder Michael Brantley, but Olney described the 33-year-old as a “Plan B” for Yankees behind LeMahieu, as it’s unlike they would be able to sign both players.
Like LeMahieu, Brantley has evolved into one of the best pure hitters in baseball, with a career slash line of .297/.354/.440. For the past two seasons, Brantley has been a huge piece of the Houston Astros’ lineup, boasting an OPS of .867 with an All-Star appearance in 2019, the fourth such honor of his 12-year career.
If Brantley were to end up in pinstripes, he’d provide a much needed left-handed bat, as the Yankees are primarily right-handed with the likes of Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Luke Voit, and Gary Sanchez, among others.
And with Brett Gardner’s future with the team uncertain, Brantley could provide that left-handed, corner outfield spot. Of course, another left-handed corner outfielder hit the market this week, as slugger Kyle Schwarber, a player the Yankees have reportedly been interested in adding in past seasons, hit the market after being non-tendered by the Cubs.
Brantley signed a two-year, $32 million deal with the Astros prior to the 2019 season, and it's likely he could be in search of a similar short term deal.