The Yankees could have someone like Oswaldo Cabrera play left field for them in 2023. However, that’s not New York’s preferred solution. Even after making big splashes for Aaron Judge and Carlos Rodon, we know the Bombers aren’t necessarily done spending. If Brian Cashman had his way, he’d probably swing a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates for outfielder Bryan Reynolds.
The soon-to-be 28-year-old has been connected to the Yankees in the rumor mill for much longer than just this winter, too. Reynolds recently requested a trade from the Pirates, so he’d also like a change of scenery. But the thing is that the outfielder isn’t due to hit free agency until 2026, so there’s no real urgency from the Pirates to swing a deal.
Pittsburgh’s asking price is reportedly very high, so anything getting done right now is unlikely. But that doesn’t mean the Yankees won’t stop trying. Even if New York is willing to meet the steep price, do they just not have the kind of prospect capital the Pirates desire?
That’s what MLB Network’s Jon Morosi tweeted earlier on Thursday:
Sources: #Yankees among teams in contact with #Pirates on Bryan Reynolds over recent weeks; one obstacle to a trade is that Pittsburgh prefers starting pitchers to headline the return and top end of Yankees’ system is deeper in position players. @MLB @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 22, 2022
This checks out with what our own Josh Benjamin recently discussed regarding a potential homegrown pitching issue. Sure, 16 of the Yankees’ top 30 prospects are pitchers. However, the prospects most highly touted from their system are position players. Many of the hurlers among this group also project more as bullpen arms than as starting pitchers.
New York’s big-league club won’t be impacted by that very much. Gerrit Cole and Carlos Rodon will be together for the next six years, and Nestor Cortes isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. If Luis Severino has anything to say about it, he’ll be sticking around in the Bronx past 2023, as well. But in situations like this, where a trade partner desires starting pitching prospects, it presents an issue.
This doesn’t mean New York couldn’t still make something work. It’ll just be a matter of finding the right mix of players that could satisfy Pirates evaluators. Even if they’re not viewed as top prospects, all it takes is one opinion within an organization to change how things look in trade negotiations.
How long will the Pirates-Reynolds drama go on? As long as Pittsburgh lets it. My guess is they’ll hold onto him this winter and through the beginning of 2023. Some teams could be more willing to pay a higher price prior to the trade deadline with a postseason berth within grasp. So, the Pirates will likely do that unless they get overwhelmed this winter.