New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman made significant moves to reinforce the outfield this off-season. Right off the bat, he acquired Alex Verdugo from the Boston Red Sox and then traded several pitchers to land both Juan Soto and Trent Grisham.
The new starting unit should look something like Soto in right field, Verdugo in left, and Aaron Judge in center. This would leave Grisham and Giancarlo Stanton as primary reserves in support. Grisham is a 2x Gold Glove-winning outfielder and Stanton, while mostly ineffective as a defensive piece, will feature as the team’s primary designated hitter moving forward.
The Yankees had a gauntlet of underwhelming talents in 2023, utilizing Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Oswaldo Cabrera, Billy McKinney, and Jake Bauers prominently in the outfield — not to mention the legendary bat of Franchy Cordero. Most of them struggled offensively, but the Yankees shouldn’t have that problem with two Hall of Fame-level bats featuring next year.
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The Yankees May Not Have a Spot For Everson Pereira
However, the path for 22-year-old prospect Everson Pereira to crack the roster has become far more challenging. In fact, Pereira may offer the team a better trade piece than an actual asset on the field in 2024.
Pereira has plenty of value, given he dominated in both Double-A and Triple-A last season. He started his campaign with Somerset, playing 46 games, hitting .291/.36/.545. in Triple-A across 35 games, he hit .312/.386/.551. It was clear that he offered substantial offense upside and good defense in every outfield spot, but his numbers took a major downturn once he joined the MLB, an expected result.
Pereira saw his strikeout rate balloon by 10%, hitting .151/.233/.194 across 27 major league games. He hosted a 23 wRC+, so his transition phase is still certainly in flux and needs more experience. Unfortunately, the Yankees don’t have enough open slots for him to land substantial MLB reps, so leveraging his talent for pitching could be ideal.
Currently, the Yankees have Estevan Florial and Oscar Gonzalez on the 40-man roster, so they will be competing. The team still has Oswaldo Cabrera as a primary utility man, and Jasson Dominguez will file in once he returns from Tommy John surgery.
That is not even to mention the development of Spencer Jones, who has substantial upside and would easily replace Pereira in the future. It is safe to say that the best usage of his talent may be on the market, notably if the Yankees can move him for a pitcher like Shane Bieber, who’s coming off of down year and in the final year of arbitration.