According to Jon Heyman, the Yankees are looking to add both a right-handed bat and a right-handed reliever before next Friday’s trade deadline. I assume that is in addition to the club’s continued search for pitching. We heard the Yankees were looking for righty relief weeks ago, but that was before they moved Adam Warren back to the bullpen.
The Yankees are hitting .241/.322/.408 (102 wRC+) against lefties this season, seventh best among the 30 clubs, but the bottom of the lineup is very lefty heavy thanks not only to Didi Gregorius and Stephen Drew, but also Chase Headley’s platoon split. He’s a switch-hitter, yeah, but he’s been way better against righties (99 wRC+) than lefties (68 wRC+) this year. Carlos Beltran has had his problems with lefties this year as well (91 wRC+).
We’ve seen the Yankees get shut down by a lefty reliever for a few innings on more than one occasion this year, so the interest in adding a righty bat makes sense. Ideally, it would be a righty (or even a switch-hitter) who can play both corner infield spots as well as the corner outfield spots, so he could platoon with Headley and replace Garrett Jones on the roster. Problem is, who is that player? That’s a pretty specific profile.
The only names that jumped to mind are Martin Prado, Jeff Baker, and Mike Olt. Prado is kinda expensive and he would presumably take over as the regular second baseman if re-acquired, not serve as a part-timer. Baker has historically mashed lefties (career 126 wRC+) but hasn’t done it this year (99 wRC+). Olt has only played a handful of games this season due to a wrist injury and owns a career 71 wRC+ against southpaws. I’m not sure he’s the answer either.
The Yankees aren’t desperate for a right-handed bat, but it would be a nice addition to round out the roster. Maybe the answer is in the minor leagues somewhere, a Quad-A player along the lines of Chris Colabello, who could sit in the minors in August, then come up when rosters expand in September. (Ryan Roberts maybe? He’s in Triple-A with the A’s.) That would give the Yankees the extra righty bat and allow them to keep Jones.