Should Yankees Pay a Premium for Bryan Reynolds amid Latest MLB Trade Rumors?

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBAFeatured Columnist IVDecember 13, 2022

Should Yankees Pay a Premium for Bryan Reynolds amid Latest MLB Trade Rumors?

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    NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 20: Bryan Reynolds #10 of the Pittsburgh Pirates reacts after hitting a home run in the seventh inning during the game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday, September 20, 2022 in New York, New York. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
    Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images

    The New York Yankees have twice paid a premium to keep their own players this offseason, bringing back both Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo on colossal contracts.

    Yet it still feels as if the Yankees could have another splurge in them over the course of the MLB offseason. Perhaps that's why they're making noise on the trade market.

    According to The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal, the Yankees "are among the teams chasing young outfielders in trades." It's possible this search pushes them toward Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Bryan Reynolds, who was an All-Star in 2021 and belted more home runs in 2022 (27, up from 24).

    But with the Pirates reportedly setting an "exceedingly high" price tag on Reynolds, per Rosenthal, is it possible for the Yankees to find the right trade? Or are they better off looking elsewhere?

The Need Is Obvious

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    NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 18: Aaron Hicks #31 of the New York Yankees walks off the field after suffering an injury against the Cleveland Guardians during the third inning in game five of the American League Division Series at Yankee Stadium on October 18, 2022 in New York, New York. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
    Sarah Stier/Getty Images

    The Yankees need to find a left fielder.

    They have Judge holding down right field and Harrison Bader in center, but the void in left field is too glaring to overlook. Nine different players started in left for them last season, and three players held down the spot in the postseason. That included Oswaldo Cabrera, who mostly played infield in the minors, and Giancarlo Stanton, who primarily plays DH.

    The third player was Aaron Hicks, who previously struggled with injury issues and now just simply struggles overall.

    His 130 games were the second-most of his career, but that's where the encouragement stopped on his stat sheet. He hit just .216 with a .313 slugging percentage, nearly matching his power production (eight homers, 40 RBI) from 2019 (12 and 36) when he played just 59 games.

The Cost Could Be Enormous

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    NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 17: Bryan Reynolds #10 of the Pittsburgh Pirates at bat during the first inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field on September 17, 2022 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images)
    Adam Hunger/Getty Images

    Reynolds requested a trade earlier this month, per Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but the Pirates don't sound the least bit interested in granting that wish.

    "While it is disappointing, this will have zero impact on our decision-making this off-season or in the future," the Pirates said through a team spokesperson. "Our goal is to improve the Pirates for 2023 and beyond. With three years until he hits free agency, Bryan remains a key member of our team. We look forward to him having a great season for the Pirates."

    Now, that doesn't quite make Reynolds untouchable, but it sounds as if he may as well be.

    "One rival official, in what surely was an exaggeration, said the Pirates want a 'Soto-type package' for Reynolds," Rosenthal reported. "Another said Reynolds is 'super expensive.' A third described him as 'unlikely to move.'"

The Trade Likely Isn't Worth It

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    NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 08: New York Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman speaks to the media prior to the start of the game against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium on April 08, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
    Mike Stobe/Getty Images

    Talent-wise, Reynolds looks like a tremendous fit for that vacant outfield spot.

    This isn't just about talent, though. The Yankees would be overpaying for a good player—not quite a great one—and not simply in dollars and cents.

    The mere mention of a "Soto-type package" is alarming, even if it's an exaggeration. That's a reference to what the San Diego Padres paid the Washington Nationals for Juan Soto (and Josh Bell), a package that included blue-chip prospects like CJ Abrams and MacKenzie Gore, near-elite prospects like Robert Hassell III and James Wood, plus a plug-and-play power hitter in (former Yankee) Luke Voit.

    Even if you scale that down some for a Reynolds swap, it's still going to appear cost-prohibitive. If the Yankees can't get a deal done without giving up Jasson Dominguez or Oswald Peraza, they should take their outfield search elsewhere (perhaps reuniting with Andrew Benintendi) and splurge on someone else, like on ace pitcher Carlos Rodón.