Should the New York Yankees pursue the Pirates for a bullpen boost?

Recently, theNew York Yankees have been successful trading partners with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Now the Yankees could look to the Pirates to improve their bullpen, short of Zack Britton for most if not all of the upcoming season?

With his relief and closing abilities, Zack Britton is vital to the New York Yankees bullpen, but the Yankees will have to make do with him for all, if not most, of the 2022 season. Britton had an injury-plagued 2021 season that came to a disappointing finish, just as the Yankees’ September stretch drive was beginning. Britton had to have a second surgery to remove bone chips from his pitching arm.

Yankee manager Aaron Boone said at the time that Britton’s rehab timeline could keep him off the mound for a year to 18 months. He will not play in the 2022 season if the latter is true. If that also is true, it will put tremendous pressure and overwork prime relievers Jonathan Loaisiga and Chad Green. To prevent this, the Yankees may have to look outside the team for a reliever to boost the bullpen.

It’s no secret that the Yankees and the Pittsburgh Pirates are familiar trade partners, getting Jameson Taillon before the 2021 season, and later Clay Holmes. Both turned out relatively successful for the Yankees. Even though teams cannot contact other teams during the lockout about acquisitions, that has not stopped internal talk.

Now, the Yankees may look again to the Pirates to boost their bullpen. The Yankees may look to David Bednar, a semi-star reliever with a team that has no real stars. But Bednar may change that, or they may trade him off. The 27-year-old Bednar’s first full major league season was quite successful. Bednar, who came from the San Deigo Padres, pitched 60.2 innings with an ERA of just 2.23. He ended the season voted eighth in the Rookie of the Year balloting.

Bednar has a three-pitch mix that keeps opponents on their toes. He needs work on this fastball, but it is up there at 97mph. His mix of other pitches, a 90mph splitter, and a 78mph curveball make him a very effective reliever. His curve, which can be his put-away pitch, has a sharp downward bite.

There are a few roadblocks to securing Bednar. One is that he loves pitching for his childhood dream team. The Pirates fans are already are angry at the home team for selling rather than buying. Another cog is that even though the sample is of small size, acquiring him will be costly to the Yankees. The Pirates will want top prospects for the trade, whereas the Yankees may only be willing to give away mid-level players.

One thing is for sure when the lockout ends, the Yankees are going to have to pounce quickly to fill their needs, whether it’s at short or in the bullpen. Yankee fans can’t wait to see what the Yankees will do.