We know the Yankees are in search of another outfielder for the 2023 season. One of their main targets is Pirates outfielder Bryan Reynolds. New York and Pittsburgh don’t appear to be natural trade partners, though.
With that in mind, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has built out the organization’s left-field depth chart over the past few days. Reynolds requested a trade at the start of this offseason, but since he’s under team control until 2026, the price is high for those interested in acquiring him.
One would think Pittsburgh isn’t in a rush to make a deal, but things change. At least, that’s what Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Gazette tells us in a recent mailbag article.
Reynolds requested a trade after extension talks with the Pirates went nowhere. The two sides are said to be about $50 million apart in negotiations. Pittsburgh offered Reynolds a record-breaking contract (more than the $70 million Ke-Bryan Hayes recently received), but it’s not enough. So, with a floor of about $120 million, it’s unlikely for Reynolds to stick around in Steel City much longer.
In discussing this situation, Mackey brought up two interesting points:
- Reynolds will be traded, and it’ll probably happen before the 2023 season is complete.
- A number of people he’s spoken to would be surprised if he plays for the Pirates at all in the upcoming season.
So, maybe Pittsburgh is motivated to maximize its return by dealing an above-average 28-year-old outfielder with three years of team control left. This isn’t the first time Reynolds’ name has been thrown into the trade rumor mill. It’s happened in each of the past two years.
Mackey said more than one-third of all MLB teams have checked in on Reynolds’ availability during that time. That’s a pretty large and substantive market, and who knows if certain teams still have an interest. The most intriguing ones of the bunch to him (outside of the Yankees) include the Los Angeles Dodgers, Cleveland Guardians, Texas Rangers, and Toronto Blue Jays.
Here are some thoughts on this potential competition.
Los Angeles Dodgers
As of August 2022, the Dodgers had baseball’s second-best farm system, according to MLB.com. They have Mookie Betts in the outfield, which is great. But the rest of this group is a little suspect. It includes Trayce Thompson, James Outman, and Miguel Vargas. These players aren’t projected to do a ton, so Reynolds would be an immediate upgrade. We also know L.A. has the ability to meet his contract demands if they want to keep him around for more than three years.
Cleveland’s projected outfield configuration would also make it easy to fit someone like Reynolds into the everyday lineup. Their farm system ranked third in baseball this past August, with two pitchers (Daniel Espino and Gavin Williams) ranking in MLB.com’s top 100. The Guardians certainly seem like a good fit, but would they pay up for an eventual extension? The smart money says no. But, it’s possible Cleveland could view the three years of control as worth the investment alone.
We’ve discussed the Rangers’ outfield situation recently. They were among the suitors for Michael Conforto prior to his signing with the San Francisco Giants. Based on their big-money deals with Marcus Semien, Corey Seager, and Jacob deGrom in the last two offseasons, they’re willing to invest in players to stick around long-term. MLB.com also ranked their farm system in the top 10 last summer.
Toronto Blue Jays
Toronto traded Teoscar Hernandez to Seattle to make room and pursue Brandon Nimmo. That didn’t work out, so they settled for Kevin Kiermaier and then traded for Dalton Varsho. While there’s a fit there — acquiring Reynolds could push Kiermaier to the bench and George Springer back to center field — this seems like the least likely of all the teams mentioned here.
If you’re looking for a comparison of farm systems, MLB.com ranked New York as the 12th-best in baseball back in August. However, none of their pitchers landed in the top 100 overall. One would have to imagine the Yankees could make something work if they’re motivated enough to make this come to fruition, though.
But as we can see, they won’t be the only ones vying for Reynolds’ services.