If the New York Yankees want to go with a blockbuster acquisition to fill their vacant left-field spot, they should look no further than Bryan Reynolds of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Reynolds requested a trade several weeks ago, but the Pirates have been cautious to deal him — they could end up acquiring a massive hall of prospects in exchange.
- Yankees still have a big starting pitching decision to figure out
- Yankees can still land top remaining free-agent left-fielder if asking price comes down
- Yankees settle with Gleyber Torres on one-year deal, avoiding arbitration
The Yankees could make a big run at Bryan Reynolds:
The Pirates are known for trading away their top talents, so Reynolds would be no different, coming off a solid 2022 season at 27 years old. He played in 145 games, the third season he’s played over 130 games, not including the Covid abbreviated campaign. Reynolds played 159 in 2021, putting together an elite offensive season marked by a 39% OBP, 24 homers, 90 RBIs, and a 141wRC+.
However, he took a step in the wrong direction last year, hitting .262 with a 34.5% OBP, 27 homers, and 62 RBIs with a 125 wRC+. He hit more homers in fewer games, which is undoubtedly a benefit, but his whiff rate increased. The numbers aren’t astronomically different, so it is more than likely he bounces back with another premium season in the batter’s box, and considering he’s a switch hitter, he would be the ideal player to fill LF for the Bombers.
Luckily, they are firmly in the mix for his services, but there are others that desire his talents, notably the Dodgers and Mariners.
“The Yankees, Dodgers, and Mariners are the three strongest candidates to get Bryan Reynolds” per Jon Morosi of the MLB Network.
Morosi also reported that the Mariners look like the most promising landing spot, but the Yankees have swooped in out of nowhere in the past to steal players via trade. Cashman often times hides his best hand until the final moments, gauging whether or not it is worth spending premium assets.
The issue is the Pirates are looking for top-end pitching, a position the Yankees are a bit thin at after sending Hayden Wesneski and Ken Waldichuk on their way at the trade deadline this past summer. The team added Scott Effross and Frankie Montas in the process, both of whom are facing injuries or trying to bounce back.
Looking at Reynolds’s defensive traits, he is incapable of playing centerfield but would be a decent option in left. He’s played 1080.2 innings in LF during his career, recording seven defensive runs saved above average. In center field, he hosts -16 defensive runs saved, so clearly, the Yankees know where he would feature.
Without top starting pitchers to offer, the Yankees would likely have to include one of their top young prospects, whether that be Oswald Peraza or Jasson Dominguez. They could buy their time until Spring Training to see if Anthony Volpe is ready and, in that case, try to use Peraza as leverage in a trade.