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  • Tim Kabel

And Then There Were None

About the Off-Season: And Then There Were None

By Tim Kabel

December 24, 2022

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Over the last week, the Yankees have seen most of their external left field possibilities fall off the board. Andrew Benintendi was signed by the White Sox. Michael Conforto was signed by the Giants. Yesterday, the Diamondbacks traded Daulton Varsho to the Blue Jays. Although he doesn't play left field, Carlos Correa had been linked to the Yankees in multiple rumors. He was actually signed by two teams last week. Neither of them was the Yankees.


As the options for left field for the Yankees become fewer and fewer, it is becoming obvious that it will probably boil down to Bryan Reynolds of the Pirates or the internal option of Oswaldo Cabrera. There are not too many other names floating around out there as viable candidates.


Brian Cashman has had a solid offseason so far. He suggested that if the Yankees don't acquire anyone, Aaron Hicks could be the left fielder. That will not happen. They would re-sign Brett Gardner first. Hicks is in decline and at age 33, is extremely unlikely to produce even pedestrian numbers. His best days are well behind him and let's face it, his best days weren't that great to begin with. He lost his job to Andrew Benintendi and at the end of the season, to Oswaldo Cabrera. Cashman wants to trade him, clearly. Of course, he does. Therefore, he cannot make statements that would reduce his value any further than it already is. Trading Hicks at this point is like trying to unload an undesirable timeshare. Very few teams are going to want him. If the Yankees say there is no way in the world he'll play left field on a regular basis, they may be stuck with him. Rest assured he will not be there in left field on opening day.


I like Oswaldo Cabrera and think he will develop into a fine major leaguer. I happen to think he is better suited to third base than left field. For that to happen with the 2023 Yankees, two things have to occur. First, they need to acquire someone else to play left field. Second, Josh Donaldson needs to be removed from the roster, freeing up third base for Cabrera.


The Yankees are continuing to work hard to try to trade Donaldson and Hicks. I think they will be able to do so eventually. They may not get much in return and might have to pay a large portion of their salaries or attach a prospect or two. Based on that premise, I suspect the Yankees will make a trade for a left fielder. The other day, Hal Steinbrenner made a point of saying the Yankees were not finished making moves. I doubt he was referencing the signing of Wilmer Difo to a minor league contract.


I suspect the Yankees will eventually acquire Bryan Reynolds from the Pirates. There are reports that the Pirates are looking for high end pitching prospects. Unfortunately, the Yankees traded away most of theirs last year at the trading deadline. I'm sure they can work something out with the Pirates. They may have to get a third team involved and possibly trade Gleyber Torres for some pitching prospects which could then be flipped to the Pirates. Brian Cashman knows what he's doing and I'm sure he will work something out. Unfortunately, in order to get this done, the Yankees will need to sacrifice somebody. The Pirates may not need middle infield prospects so, it is possible that Jasson Dominguez could be the centerpiece of a trade for Reynolds.


Dominguez went from low A ball to double A ball last season. He seems to be living up to his billing as a future star. He won't be in the major leagues for at least another full season. The Yankees want to win now. In a best-case scenario, Oswaldo Cabrera, Oswald Peraza, and Anthony Volpe would all have breakout seasons next year for the Yankees. Dominguez could then join them the following season, replacing Harrison Bader, who will be a free agent.


Brian Cashman and the Yankees have to make a decision. Do they want to hang on to all their top prospects instead of trading at least one for someone like Bryan Reynolds to help win right now? If so, they need to find a viable option in left field to hold down the fort. Perhaps Cabrera could do that before returning to the infield in 2024 when Donaldson departs, if he cannot be traded now.


I'm not sure where you fall in the discussion but, I would like to see the Yankees keep their top prospects. Maybe that means playing Donaldson at third base and Cabrera in left field. If Donaldson is definitely washed up, D J LeMahieu could certainly play third base on a regular basis, if he is healthy


I like the idea of acquiring Bryan Reynolds, but the cost might be too much. At this point, I am in favor of keeping Oswaldo Cabrera in left field and playing D J LeMahieu as the regular third baseman. This of course, assumes that the Yankees will trade Donaldson and Hicks. They could certainly do a lot worse than having Oswaldo Cabrera as their starting left fielder. They already did when they played Aaron Hicks there.

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