The New York Yankees can’t go into the season with a starting player who hit .216/.330/.313 and a 90 wRC+. Those were Aaron Hicks’ numbers in 2022.
His season was rough, and while he is still under contract, the Yankees might be plotting a plan to upgrade. After losing out on other outfield targets such as Brandon Nimmo and Masataka Yoshida, the Bombers are also considering an alternative method to bring in another option to play left field: the trade market.
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, “the Yankees, Rangers, Blue Jays, Rays and Marlins are among the teams chasing young outfielders in trades. So are the Reds,” he tweeted.
The Yankees have the prospect ammunition to make a deal for a young outfielder happen. The Arizona Diamondbacks are open to trading some of their young outfielders (Jake McCarthy, Alek Thomas, or Daulton Varsho), and the Pittsburgh Pirates have a prime target for a contending team like New York: Bryan Reynolds.
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Will the Yankees pay Reynolds’ cost in prospects?
Per Rosenthal, the Pirates are open to talking business, but they won’t give away their young star.
“Yes, (Pittsburgh is) willing to entertain moving center fielder Bryan Reynolds, if only because clubs are almost always willing to listen to trade offers. Teams interested in Reynolds, however, say the price tag is similar to what it was in the past — exceedingly high,” Rosenthal stated.
Reynolds had a strong 2022 campaign with the lowly Pirates, hitting .262/.345/.461 with 27 home runs and a 125 wRC+. He was even better in 2021, with a 141 wRC+. Between the last two years, he has 51 dingers.
The upgrade over Hicks would be enormous, but the Yankees would probably be required to part with Jasson Dominguez or Oswald Peraza, at the very least. If they can convince themselves that Reynolds will be worth the acquisition cost, they can make something happen.
Reynolds is young (27), good, and under team control for the next three seasons.