Mike Tuckman (33, Chicago Cubs), an outfielder who signed with Hanwha in the KBO last year despite being considered a triple threat at the plate, was not re-signed after the season. Hanwha also had a re-signing scenario in mind for Tuckman, but the two sides differed on terms.
In 144 games last year, Tuckman hit .289 with 12 home runs, 43 RBIs, and 19 stolen bases. Rather than matching Tuckman’s asking price, Hanwha opted to find a new foreign hitter to fill the team’s need for power. Brian O’Grady, 31, was the result.
Despite the good intentions, it turned out to be a bad move. O’Grady struggled to get the ball in play and was eventually released after an embarrassing slump that saw him strike out 40 times in 80 at-bats. In 22 games, he hit just .125. He didn’t hit a single home run.
Tuckman, on the other hand, eventually realized his dream of returning to the major leagues after looking good in exhibition games. After signing a minor league deal with the Cubs, Tuckman was called up in May after a strong showing at Triple-A. Since his call-up, he’s been on fire. As of May 5, he’s batting .297 with four RBIs in 15 games this season. His on-base percentage is down, but his slugging percentage is up to a whopping .438.
The Rangers are now in a position where they can’t bring him back even if they wanted to. For Hanwha fans who have seen O’Grady at his worst, Tuckman’s name will be sorely missed. But Hanwha fans aren’t the only ones. New York Yankees fans also miss Tuckman.
After making his major league debut with Colorado in 2017, Tuckman was traded to the Yankees in 2019, where he played for two and a half years before being traded to San Francisco in 2021. In 141 games with the Yankees, Turkman hit .266 with a .353 on-base percentage. His OPS was 0.798, which was 14% better than the league average during that time. His hustle and solid defense made him a fan favorite. He was a fan favorite for his hustle and solid defense.
But the Yankees believed someone else could do his job, so they let him go and didn’t even consider signing him after he was released by San Francisco. But the Yankees have been strangely unable to find an answer in left field since Turkman’s departure. That makes it all the more frustrating that Tuckman is playing so well for the Cubs.
Yankees fan community Yankees Go Yard highlighted Tuckman’s performance with the Cubs, noting the franchise’s history in the outfield: “Tuckman’s 먹튀검증 performance in his opportunity with the Cubs has been impressive. He already has a 0.6 wins above replacement (WAR) after 31 at-bats. That’s higher than (starting shortstop) Anthony Volpi’s WAR, not to mention the cacophony of the Yankees’ left field failures.
“Should they have kept Tuckman under contract after the 2020 season?” he asks, “The Yankees had faith in Jake Bauers and could have gotten a lot out of Willie Calhoun. The Yankees may not have had a solution (to the positional logjam) at the time, but passing on this guy (Tuckman), probably at AAAA, is going to keep them up at night.
The Yankees have a gaping hole in the outfield, with Aaron Hicks, the team’s high-profile outfielder, released early after struggling, and most of their left fielders have near-zero or negative WAR. The sad part for this fan site is that if they had kept Tuckman, he could have been an option for a major league team, if not necessarily a full-time option. Just a little too good to keep and a little too good to throw away, Tuckman’s history with the Yankees and Hanwha has repeated itself.