The New York Yankees are waiting patiently to find themselves a new left-fielder. With Michael Conforto, the last remaining serviceable free agent, general manager Brian Cashman may have to look toward the trade market.
The Bombers have been linked to Max Kepler of the Minnesota Twins, but another player has bubbled to the surface from the Kansas City Royals, Michael A. Taylor.
The Yankees were intrigued by Taylor at the trade deadline this past summer, offering similar qualities to Kepler at 31 years old, despite a bit less power and a righty bat, which isn’t favorable for Yankee Stadium.
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Taylor is known to be a below-average hitter, which surely won’t excite Yankee fans who desire a more potent offensive weapon in left field. Going from Andrew Benintendi to Taylor simply wouldn’t be a sufficient move, but if Cashman is trying to pinch pennies at this point in time, his $4.5 million salary certainly isn’t much to consume.
Center fielder Michael Taylor, under contract for $4.5 million entering his walk year, is another player the Royals are willing to move. The Royals want to play Drew Waters and Kyle Isbel in center. Taylor, a below-average hitter and above-average defender, could appeal to contenders as a fourth outfielder. The Braves pursued him at the deadline last year, seeking protection in the event Michael Harris II got injured. The Astros liked Taylor the year before that.According to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.
An easy trade for the Yankees to fill LF:
Cashman would likely have to give up next to nothing to acquire Taylor, given the Royals plan to utilize some of their younger options in the outfield. The problem is, he’s only played 373 total innings of his professional career in left. He has a perfect fielding percentage and 1 out above average, but the sample size is small, having last played there in 2020 with the Washington Nationals.
Offensively, Taylor hit .254 with a 31.3% on-base rate this past season, including nine homers and a 24% strikeout rate. His 90 wRC+ was the highest it’s been since 2017, indicating he was 10% worse than the average player. Cutting straight to the chase, Taylor is simply another Aaron Hicks without a switch-bat and won’t offer much offensively, so he shouldn’t even be a consideration for the Yankees.
If the team really wants a high upside option, Conforto is the best bet unless they view Kepler’s power and defensive qualities higher. Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Bryan Reynolds would be the dream trade, but it is extremely unlikely, given their lofty asking price.