The 2023 New York Yankees' season was a bitter disappointment, with their 82-80 record keeping them out of the playoffs. Clearly, the roster needs to be upgraded at a few spots, and mixing in some injury luck, 2024 should look better for the Yankees.
With that in mind, here are five free agents the New York Yankees could and should target this offseason.
Austin Hedges, C
Austin Hedges may not be the best at the plate, but no one would be far too concerned with his statline as long as his strong work behind the plate continues. Hedges has hit above .200 just twice in his nine big league seasons, and owns a career batting average of .189.
Here is the good news, Hedges is one of the best framers in the league. Ranking second behind just Patrick Bailey in Baseball Savant's Catcher Framing Runs metric, Hedges outpaced the two internal backup catcher candidates in Kyle Higashioka and Jose Trevino.
Assuming the Yankees are willing to give Austin Wells a long leash to begin the season, adding Hedges to mentor and guide Wells would provide a solid backup plan.
Michael Brantley, DH/OF
Michael Brantley may not be the most popular name to target for the Yankees' outfield, but taking a flier on him may pay off with a huge reward.
Granted, Brantley has not played a full season since 2021, but a left-handed bat is sorely needed in a righty-heavy lineup. Brantley, a 15-year veteran, owns a career .298 batting average, and a career strikeout rate of just 10.5 percent. Although he only played in 79 games across the last two seasons, Brantley has hit seven home runs, and walked more than he has struck out. Likely a platoon option at this point in his career, Brantley could spell Giancarlo Stanton and other DH or outfield options.
Given his recent health concerns, Brantley would likely be a cost-efficient choice should the next option land out of the Yankees' price range.