Yankees’ outfield prospect emerges as key trade piece

mlb: washington nationals at new york yankees, everson pereira
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees now have to pivot toward alternative options after losing out on Yoshinobu Yamamoto to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Japanese international star will join Shohei Ohtani, who signed a $700 million deal this off-season. Yamamoto didn’t do too shabby himself, securing $325 million from the Dodgers across 12 years with multiple outs in the contract.

However, the Yankees need to start looking elsewhere, and the trade market is heating up. One option they could inquire about is Shane Bieber of the Cleveland Guardians. The 28-year-old pitched 128 innings last year but logged 200 innings in 2022. His ERA increased to 3.80 with 7.52 strikeouts per nine, a 74.3% left-on-base rate, and a 47.2% ground ball rate. Given Bieber is expected to earn $15 million this upcoming season in his final year of arbitration, the Yankees may not have to give up anything significant for his services.

Bieber is a former Cy Young award-winning pitcher back in 2020. He’s only one year removed from hosting a 2.88 ERA over a substantial amount of innings, and the Yankees may be able to turn his stuff around, given his connection to Matt Blake.

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The Yankees Could Look to the Trade Market

If general manager Brian Cashman does approach the trade market for another starter, he could leverage one of his outfield prospects, Everson Pereira, as the key in a prospective deal. Obviously, he would like to hold onto Jasson Dominguez and Spencer Jones, neither of whom would be involved in a haul.

However, Pereira may be considered expendable at 22 years old. The Yankees added Alex Verdugo, Trent Grisham, and Juan Soto this off-season, so Pereira may have difficulty cracking the roster anyway. In Triple-A last season, the young outfielder played 35 games, hitting .312/.386/.551, which included eight homers and 33 RBIs.

Unfortunately, Pereira‘s numbers dipped when he played at the MLB level across 27 games. He hit .151/.233/.194, recording 10 RBIs, a 38.8% strikeout rate, and a 7.8% walk rate. The sample size is far too small to make any generalized assumptions about his future, so another team may view his upside as a valuable piece and consider acquiring him in exchange for pitching.

The Yankees will likely consider the free-agent market where Jordan Montgomery and Blake Snell remain available. However, Snell has trouble racking up innings, and Montgomery, while a good option, may regress in 2024. Nonetheless, leveraging some of their position player prospects could be advisable since they’ve already sent out a significant number of pitchers from their farm system in exchange for outfielders.