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2-time Gold Glove Award winner Trent Grisham is more than just a throw-in for Yankees

Trent Grisham could play a big role for the Yankees in 2024. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Trent Grisham could play a big role for the Yankees in 2024. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Brian Cashman entered the offseason saying the Yankees were searching for two outfielders, preferably left-handed hitters after their miserable 82-80 season.

It was mission accomplished on Wednesday night when the Yanks agreed to acquire superstar Juan Soto in a deal with the San Diego Padres just two days after acquiring Alex Verdugo from the Boston Red Sox.

However, the Yanks acquired a third left-handed hitting outfielder who seemed to be a “throw-in” to the Soto deal which, despite the narrative, has plenty of value to offer the Bombers.

Trent Grisham and his projected $4.5 million salary is an interesting player that will certainly have a role on the 2024 Yankees.

The traditional statistics are ugly as the 27-year-old posted a .198/.315/.352 slash line with 13 homers and 50 RBI in 153 games last season with the Padres. Despite the low average, there is plenty to like peeking under the hood — especially as a fourth outfielder option.

“In Grisham’s case, I think he’s going to be a weapon to be used to as needed,” Cashman said on Thursday. “But ultimately, Aaron Boone is gonna make those calls. I think there’s just power numbers and we have elevated our outfield class significantly by these moves. Boone’s gonna have a lot of good decisions to make and that’s a good thing.”

Grisham posted 1.7 fWAR last season — mostly due to his stellar defense in center field. He ranked in the 92nd percentile in Outs Above Average, according to BaseballSavant. The two-time Gold Glove Award winner would have ranked as the fourth most valuable player on the Yankees behind Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres and Anthony Volpe.

The center fielder also owned a 13.5 walk percentage, which would have ranked second on the Yankees behind Judge — as it did for the Padres behind Soto. His offensive profile is something the Bombers can work with. He ranked in the 69th percentile in Outs Above Average, 77th percentile in Barrel percentage, 86th percentile in chase percentage and 92nd percentile in walk percentage.

To put it simply, Grisham hits the ball hard when he connects and is patient at the plate — two things the Yankees didn’t do last season ranking 27th in OBP and 22nd in slugging percentage.

Outside of the batting average, there is also plenty to dislike about the Yankees’ new outfielder. His strikeout percentage ranked in the 20th percentile followed by a 31st percentile finish in whiff percentage. So Grisham is certainly not a part of the solution to the Bombers chronic swing-and-miss issues.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about one of the pinstripes’ newest acquisitions are his offensive splits. Grisham handles left-handed pitching well from the left side of the box slashing .256/.362/.430. However, against righties, he hits .178/.298/.325.

If the Yankees are that invested in offensive splits, there could be an opportunity for a platoon role with Verdugo. He performs well against right-handers — .279/.329/.464 — but struggles against southpaws, slashing .220/.311/.298.

What Yankee faithful should enjoy seeing the most is Grisham’s games played. The outfielder has played 130 or more games in each of the past three seasons. Availability has been a well-documented issue for the Bombers and having depth — specifically outfield depth — in a season where their 6-7 captain is being relied on as their starting center fielder will likely be crucial.