The Yankees have spent a lot of money this winter to reload for 2023. Aaron Judge is back in the fold as New York’s captain. Carlos Rodon also fortifies what was already a solid rotation. A big question mark has been left field. In an ideal world, general manager Brian Cashman would plug Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Bryan Reynolds into that spot.
We know Reynolds no longer wants to be in Pittsburgh. He requested the Pirates to trade him at the start of the offseason. But with multiple years of team control left before he hits free agency, the Buccos are in no rush to make a deal. A trade also doesn’t come together quickly when the team who has a desirable player is asking for an unrealistic return.
New York also doesn’t appear to be a natural trade partner based on what the Pirates want. Still, Cashman has been trying to make something work all winter. As things dragged on, the possibility of Reynolds starting 2023 in Pittsburgh increased. If that were to happen, the Yankees have at least amassed several options to see if one can stick. This includes Aaron Hicks and Oswaldo Cabrera, as well as a handful of minor-league signings.
Those options will have to do for now. Pirates general manager Ben Cherington said this during a recent appearance on MLB Network Radio (transcribed quote via NJ.com):
He’s both a really good player and really consistent. He’s one of those guys that, you know, you sleep well at night, it’s just super reliable and good combined. And, given where we are, as I described coming off of last year and really feeling like we believe we’re ready to start making a move making a move, improving you know, becoming more competitive and he’s such an important part of that.
You know, certainly our focus this offseason has been building our team trying to get better. And really, with him on it, we understand and want players to be able to express whatever they need to express to us. We know he wants to win. He’s a competitor. So we want to keep that line of communication open with him.
But, I think as I referenced earlier in the offseason, we believe he’s a Pirate. He’s gonna be a big part of the team and we’ll see what unfolds from there, but we’re looking forward to getting back into camp just being able to be around him again. And he plays the game the right way in so many ways, not just the production. I referenced it with the veteran players and the potential benefit of coming in and influencing younger players. But if you watch Bryan Reynolds play the game, watch him run the bases, late in the year, when we’re clearly out of it. That’s the example you want and so he’s a really important player for us.
Well, this is certainly a buzzkill for Yankees fans hoping to root for Reynolds at The Stadium on Opening Day against the San Francisco Giants.
The left-field situation isn’t ideal for the Bronx Bombers. However, there are enough guys on the roster that manager Aaron Boone can try several scenarios to see if a permutation actually works. If nothing does, Cashman can focus on trying to supplement that area of the roster prior to the trade deadline.
As long as he’s still on the Pirates, you’d have to imagine the Yankees will continue to pursue Reynolds. Cash is probably hoping he’ll be doing it with a little payroll flexibility by trading some of his available veterans…which he’s tried to do most of the offseason.
Matt Musico can be reached at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.