The New York Yankees let the first opportunity to poach talent off the Cincinnati Reds this offseason pass them by when they allowed Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suarez to tiptoe to the Seattle Mariners for a very minimal return.
Though the Yankees could’ve absolutely used Winker’s bat despite his struggles against lefties, there’s still ample opportunity for New York’s braintrust to add talent due to Cincinnati’s rededication to scraping the bottom of the barrel. Who knew letting Nicholas Castellanos walk was the first step towards Reds ownership choosing financial ruin over competing?
As long as the Yanks hurry up, they can take advantage of the Reds’ downfall in myriad ways, from taking on dollars attached to sinking assets (like they did with, uh, Josh Donaldson) to poaching young up-and-comers who are simply … available now.
What the Reds appear to be intent on doing is horrible for the game of baseball, especially after the new CBA was signed, but … somebody’s going to profit off of it. Why not the Yankees?
No, seriously. Why not? Critics are going to mock New York whether they feast or not, so why not reinforce the roster in clear areas of need?
Even if the Yankees shoot for the moon and only land among the stars, there are right-handed starters and center field options waiting in Cincinnati who will cost $Free.95 if we’re judging based on Winker and Suarez.
And, oh yeah, there are also a few of those stars we’ve heard so much about.
4 Cincinnati Reds players the Yankees should trade for
4. Tyler Mahle
Tyler Mahle is the No. 1 target who’s both attainable and attractive. There will absolutely be sharks in these waters.
A 27-year-old who’ll be a free agent after the 2023 season, Mahle was reportedly on the Mets’ radar recently, though who knows if that still stands after the team acquired Chris Bassitt for top-five prospect JT Ginn and a throw-in.
Mahle broke out somewhat silently (at least, comparatively) in 2021, leading the National League in starts with 33, as well as whiffing an impressive 210 men in 180 clean innings (3.75 ERA/3.80 FIP).
With Mahle, what you see appears to be what you get, and if it’s durability the Yankees are after, he appears to be as safe a bet as any (with all the usual caveats, pitchers break, etc) with the market beginning to form.
With Sonny Gray already exiled to Minnesota, we don’t even need to assess whether or not the Yankees should be interested in that dance yet again. Mahle doesn’t come with any similar strings attached, and with red percentiles in all the Statcast hard-hit metrics, he’s liable to remain steady — or even tick up a spot or two — after a guru like Matt Blake gets his hands on him. The competition for Mahle will be fierce (two top-10 prospects and more?), but if the Yankees are serious about adding innings, they’ll dip into the mix here.