Yankees facing insane price tag from Pirates for Bryan Reynolds

bryan reynolds, yankees, pirates, mets
Aug 28, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Bryan Reynolds (10) against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Bryan Reynolds saga continues, and it seems less likely that he’ll be traded to the Yankees in the offseason as more reports come out.

According to Jon Heyman of the NY Post, “the Pirates sought four top prospects from the Yankees, including multiple players from the top group that includes Oswald Peraza, Anthony Volpe, and Jasson Dominguez.”

Anyone who’s followed the team over the last couple of years knows they aren’t paying that price. Heyman described it as a package similar to the one seen in the Juan Soto trade, but there’s no reason for the Yankees to pay that price for a player who isn’t nearly as good as Soto.

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New Competition For Bryan Reynolds?

Jon Morosi of MLB Network reported that the Texas Rangers are heavily involved in the Bryan Reynolds sweepstakes, and unlike the Yankees, they have the top-of-the-line pitching talent in their farm system to entice the Pirates. Jack Leiter of Vanderbilt University should be of great interest to Pittsburgh, who, looks to acquire pitching talent in a deal like this. It’ll be tough for the Yankees to compete with the Rangers unless they part ways with two of their top three in Volpe, Peraza, and Dominguez. Based on the their willingness to deal Ken Waldichuk before Oswald Peraza, they seem keen on keeping both Volpe and Peraza, signaling they view these two as the future of their infield.

oswald peraza, yankees
Oct 20, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; New York Yankees shortstop Oswald Peraza (91) throws to first base on a ground out by Houston Astros center fielder Chas McCormick (20) during the seventh inning in game two of the ALCS for the 2022 MLB Playoffs at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

While the Yankees are facing steep competition for Reynolds, it doesn’t necessarily take them out of the running. The Pirates aren’t going to get the Juan Soto-type package they’re seeking, so they’ll eventually have to come down from that price as time passes. That could mean waiting until the trade deadline, but it’s become increasingly likely that the Pirates will move the switch-hitting All-Star prior to Opening Day. The Yankees would most certainly deal Jasson Dominguez in this deal, and the Pirates could view him as the eventual replacement for Reynolds in centerfield by 2024.

Writing about the Yankees and Bryan Reynolds is difficult because the Pirates don’t have to trade Reynolds by Opening Day, but they would lose value on their return as Reynolds accumulates more service time and nears close to free agency. Furthermore, teams like the Rangers are going to be far more desperate to land a star-caliber player like Reynolds, as getting a bat like his could be make-or-break for their postseason hopes. They have stiff competition in the AL West, and they could finish 4th once again if they don’t make another splash.

It’s a situation where the Yankees are still in the running for Reynolds, but are probably not the favorites, nor does it seem like they want to trade what Pittsburgh is looking for. With that being said, what directions can the Yankees take to pivot for LF?

Where Can the Yankees Turn Next?

Max Kepler is the obvious pivot for the Yankees, providing a low-cost high-floor left-handed bat that’ll at least give then ~2 WAR off of baserunning and defense alone. Projections like Kepler for 2023, with his wRC+ ranging from 103-113, depending on the system used. With Yankee Stadium, Kepler probably gets to ~20 HRs in a season, and if the Yankees can get him to pull the ball more, we could see him hit for more power and have a wRC+ north of 115. I’ve already detailed how the Yankees could unlock Kepler, so I’ll link it here for a more in-depth look at Kepler.

max kepler, yankees

While there hasn’t been as much smoke on this player, Anthony Santander could give the Yankees the best potential bat out of the likely trade options on the market. A switch-hitting power hitter, he posted a 2.5 fWAR and 120 wRC+ with 33 HRs in 152 games. While he went 11-64 against the Yankees, 6 of those 11 hits were HRs, cementing him as a Yankee-killer last year. For an in-depth look at Santander, who would’ve had 42 HRs instead of 33 at Yankee Stadium per Statcast, Nick did a great job talking about what makes him such a great fit, and I’ll link that here as well.

Anthony Santander, yankees
Sep 27, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Baltimore Orioles left fielder Anthony Santander (25) hits a home run during the third inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Seth Brown was recently mentioned as a potential dark horse to be dealt by the Oakland Athletics, and he’s quietly one of the better left-handed bats at the position. Despite playing in an extremely HR-depressed environment like Oakland, he hit 25 HRs in 150 games with a 117 wRC+, and while his 1.8 fWAR is mediocre, it’s tanked by his playing time at 1B. With the Yankees, he can play LF, where he’s a career 9 DRS guy with 3 OAA in a very spacious Oakland outfield. He stole 11 bases in 13 attempts and could get the green light to run more with bigger bases. He struggles against LHP, but the power output definitely screams “Yankee.”

The Yankees certainly have avenues to pivot without Reynolds, it’s just a matter of who’s willing to make a deal and which price tags the Yankees are willing to match. They need bats, but that doesn’t mean selling your future for Bryan Reynolds.