Yankees should swipe forgotten top prospect from Cards in sneaky trade
By Adam Weinrib
The Yankees and Cardinals should be talking Alex Reyes in trade.
When Alex Reyes entered the league back in 2016 at the age of 21, he was the hottest thing since sliced chedd.
Back then, he was popping 99 MPH heat as a starter and was one of the top prospects in the game, still ranking as St. Louis’ top prospect entering 2019 and over two years removed from regular MLB competition (Tommy John, of course).
After Reyes’ 2020 comeback, it’s still somewhat difficult to know what his future holds, as the statistics he posted were something of a mixed bag — and we would forgive you if you missed ’em on the East Coast. His stuff was as nasty as ever, mostly harnessed out of the bullpen (15 outings, one start). He dotted 101 on the inner edges, and had something of a coming out party in Game 1 of the Cardinals’ Wild Card Series against the San Diego Padres.
Reyes missed a lot of bats, but often missed the plate, too, walking 14 men in 19.2 innings while striking out an impressive 27. But the underlying numbers show that he performed…essentially as expected, and didn’t necessarily get “lucky” with his strand rate. Reyes’ FIP was 3.24, right in line with his 3.20 ERA. Guess that’s what happens when nobody can touch the ball, right?
But all things being equal, Reyes won’t be fully living up to his value unless he’s a 200-inning starter, and the Cards’ grand plan does not involve turning the former top pitching prospect in the game into a one-inning reliever. Somebody, whether it be St. Louis or a new home, needs to stretch Reyes out and see what they have as a rotation arm — and the Cardinals aren’t foolish enough to make him untouchable if they believe he’s morphed into a short reliever, at this point.
The Yankees are plenty familiar with the Cardinals, having facilitated their bullpen a few years back by trading them Gio Gallegos in exchange for Luke Voit, a deal the Yanks got the better end of, but one which is working out for St. Louis, too. Might these two sides hook up again for Reyes?
His cost is diminished, but it hasn’t evaporated — after all, what we did see in 2020 was pretty special, even though he’s been dinged by injury troubles and his meteoric rise has been more subdued.
We’ve heard of the Cards as a Miguel Andújar destination over the past few weeks — so what if the Yankees dangle their recently-screwed third baseman in exchange for Reyes, and add a top-10 pitching prospect of their own like Yoendrys Gomez or Alexander Vizcaino, both protected with 40-man roster spots.
Worst case, you deal from a position of strength for an electric bullpen arm. Best case? The Elizabeth, NJ native shines in his homecoming and clamps down the messy middle of the Yankees’ rotation.