Yankees Claim Young Outfielder Off Waivers

Ahead of this weekend’s winter meetings, the Yankees have acquired 25-year-old Dominican outfielder Óscar González. The former Cleveland Guardians’ right fielder joins a Yankee organization looking to build outfield depth as they head into the 2024 season. While González experienced something of a “sophomore slump” this year, slashing .214/.239/.312, his rookie numbers were good enough to make his acquisition interesting. After he made his Major League debut in May, González would put together an impressive 2022 campaign, slashing .296/.327/.461 with 11 home runs, 43 RBIs, and a 125 OPS+. Those who watched Cleveland’s postseason run that year might also remember the young slugger. It was González’s 15th-inning home run off veteran Corey Kluber that sent Tampa Bay packing. González’s timely hitting was also responsible for the walk-off single that handed Cleveland a victory over the Yankees in Game 3 of the Division Series.

What To Expect

There is no question that González has talent, but he will need to make every necessary adjustment to improve after a disappointing 2023 season. A good starting point is his plate approach. González struck out in 25.6% of his appearances and only walked at a 2.8% rate. Even with his admirable rookie season, he tends to chase out of the zone, which suggests he isn’t seeing pitches well. Defensively, he does possess good arm strength but is not known for his skill with the glove. He is middle-of-the-road in terms of sprint speed, so he won’t likely be a threat on the base path, either. With two minor league options remaining, González’s real value is additional depth. Depending on what further moves Brian Cashman makes this offseason, González will likely spend time with Scranton Wilkes-Barre. And given the Yankees’ injury history, he’ll be competing for playing time with other outfield options like Estevan Florial, Everson Pereira, and Oswaldo Cabrera.

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