Nate Schierholtz was non-tendered by the Philadelphia Phillies this past week, making him a free agent. The New York Yankees are still looking for outfield help and Schierholtz would be a very nice addition to the Yankees outfield rotation.
A left-handed hitter, Schierholtz was traded from the San Francisco Giants to the Phillies as part of the deal that brought Hunter Pence out to San Francisco. Schierholtz has been a platoon player his entire career but offers excellent defense and a cannon arm.
The Yankees are still negotiating with Ichiro Suzuki. However, Suzuki’s agent recently announced that he will be contacting other teams now. Suzuki still wants to come back to the Bronx but if he signs elsewhere, the Yankees could be running low on options. Schierholtz is a cost-effective replacement who will hold his own offensively and will give the Yankees excellent defense every game.
Even if the Yankees sign Ichiro, it might make sense to still sign Schierholtz, perhaps as a cheaper option to Raul Ibanez, or an upgrade over Andruw Jones and Chris Dickerson.
Last season, Schierholtz hit .257/.321/.407 but .273/.319/.379 with the Phillies before breaking his toe after fouling a ball off of it. He had six home runs and 21 RBI in 241 at-bats.
He is still on the young side, he won’t turn 29 until pitchers and catchers report, and would still be under team control next season to whomever signs him. If the Yankees are looking for a cheap option for right field that won’t embarrass himself playing every day then Schierholtz could be an excellent option. Even as a fourth outfielder, Schierholtz makes complete sense for the Yankees.
Another plus for Schierholtz is his career splits against righties and lefties isn’t that drastic. For his career against lefties Schierholtz owns a line of .284/.317/.391 in 271 at-bats. Against righties, he owns a .266/.319/.413 line in 1004 at-bats. For a left-handed hitter, he actually has a higher batting average against left-handed pitchers which suggests he could possibly be able to hold his own as a starter.
With the Yankees needing to fill so many holes there will be plenty of MLB rumors surrounding them as the Winter Meetings get kick-off and GM Brian Cashman could be looking for a little outfield help and Schierholtz might be on his list.