Lee Jung-hoo (25, Kiwoom Heroes) has been mentioned as a possible candidate for the New York Yankees’ starting center fielder next season.
The New York Post reported on Nov. 27 (KST) that Lee Jeong-hoo is one of the potential middle infielders the Yankees could sign next year as they are uncertain about re-signing starting center fielder Harrison Vader, who is set to become a free agent at the end of this season.
Vader, who made his major league debut with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2017, won the National League Outfield Gold Glove in 2021. He was acquired by the Yankees in a trade last August and is batting .244 (68-for-280) with seven home runs, 37 RBIs, 16 doubles and a .651 OPS in 81 games this season.
“Vader, who is a free agent after the season, has lived up to his defensive reputation and been a steady presence in center field when healthy, but multiple injuries and inconsistent offensive production have made it questionable whether the Yankees will invest the money to bring him back next year,” according to the New York Post.
Vader hasn’t played full-time since 2021 due to a variety of injuries, including ribs, soles, obliques, and hamstrings. “Hopefully I’ll be back with the Yankees next year, but if not, it’s what it is. I’m just trying to take advantage of the moment I’m in this uniform right now,” Vader said, “and hopefully contribute offensively to help the team win more games the rest of the season.”
The New York Post reported, “If the Yankees don’t re-sign Vader, there aren’t many alternatives in free agency. Cody Bellinger, who resurfaced with the Chicago Cubs this offseason, is expected to be the biggest name, while South Korean star Jung-Hoo Lee, defensive veterans Kevin Kiermaier (Toronto Blue Jays) and Michael A. Taylor (Minnesota Twins) are possible additions.
Among the internal outfield prospects, Everson Pereira and Jason Dominguez were mentioned as alternatives. However, Dominguez is 20 years old and just reached Triple-A, while Pereira, who was called up to the big leagues on Nov. 23, is a left fielder.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone said, “Pereira has played all three outfield positions and has shown what he can do at every position. He’s very athletic and has a good throwing arm. 메이저사이트 We haven’t completely ruled out center field, but we’re looking at a corner outfield for the long term.”
The Yankees, who lost nine straight games against the Miami Marlins on April 13 and the Washington Nationals on April 23 for the first time in 41 years since 1982, are 62-68 and in fifth place in the American League East. With the postseason out of reach, they are likely to finish last in the division for the first time in 33 years since 1990.
“This season has been a disaster,” said Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, who has been at the helm for 26 years. It’s embarrassing, it’s disappointing,” he said. Both Cashman and Boone’s jobs are up in the air, and they’ll have to turn things around next year. With an immediate need to bolster the lineup, a vacancy in center field, and a potential candidate to make a move for Lee Jeong-hoo, this is not the time to rebuild.