Cody Bellinger, Kevin Kiermarier

Jasson Dominguez, the New York Yankees top prospect, made a splash entry into MLB in September this year. His abrupt debut gave Bronx Bombers a glimpse into the future as Jasson shattered records with a home run spree. However, fate has other plans to test Dominguez’s resilience as the rookie fell prey to grievous injury.

The center fielder tore the UCL of his right elbow, which worsened over time as the Yankees failed to diagnose the injury before it was too late. Subsequently, Jasson Dominguez underwent UCL surgery, and the standard timeline for the recovery of position players will force Jasson to miss out on the first half of the 2024 MLB season. Under these circumstances, here are a couple of center-field candidates that the Yanks must consider signing this off-season.


Jung Hoo Lee Deemed Ideal Long Term Center Field Candidate For Yankees!

Credit: YNA

Cody Bellinger will remain the New York Yankees top outfield choice this free agency. However, the outfielder’s high market price, coupled with analytics concerns, could potentially lead to a fallout. Under these circumstances, Korean Phenomena Jung Hoo Lee could be a perfect like-for-like replacement. Lee’s KBO team will post the outfielder on MLB’s free agency portal by early December. While Lee is not a hard hitter the Yanks are accustomed to, his high batting average and elite hand-eye coordination have made him a favorite.

As per Jung Hoo Lee’s agency, as many as 15 teams have contacted them to enquire about the outfielder’s availability since the news of his MLB posting broke out. And unsurprisingly, the Yankees emerged as the top landing spot. Lee can fit into the Bombers’ roster only if they are willing to consider Dominguez for a permanent left-field role. Lee is an excellent center fielder, and he would only thrive in that role. On the other hand, Jasson is young and flexible enough to play multiple spots. Thus, if Hal Steinbrenner is looking for a long-term center-field solution, Jung Hoo Lee is their guy. Additionally, Hoo Lee would come cheaper compared to the mighty Cody Bellinger.

Kevin Kiermaier Linked To Yanks Amid Center Field Shortage!

Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

If the New York Yankees want to opt for a short-term replacement for Jasson Dominguez, Kevin Kiermaier is their guy. The center fielder is blessed with elite defensive skills and could come in handy with the bat as well. Moreover, Kevin has extensive AL-East experience on his resume to back up his candidacy. In 2023, the left-handed batter posted a .265 batting average with a .741 OPS. 

Having said that, Kevin Kiermaier is expected to earn a raise this off-season. He earned $9 million in arbitration last year, and after a successful season in 2023, the outfielder would surely not settle for less. Still, even after the expected salary raise, Kevin won’t match Bellinger’s market value. Thus, both Jung Hoo Lee and Kevin Kiermaier are cheaper alternatives for the Yankees compared to Cody Bellinger. Other options include ex-Yankee Harrison Bader and Cardinals outfielder Dylan Carlson.