Astros better not steal Yankees outfield trade target from Diamondbacks


It would be a new level of cruel for the Astros to take the Yankees’ lunch in low-tier trade discussions in addition to postseason battles. According to Bob Nightengale, though, Houston has butted their heads into the Yanks’ (rather underwhelming) conversations surrounding their left field vacancy.

First came the ‘Stros honing in on Yankees free agent target Andrew Benintendi, their much-talked-about sequel to naming Anthony Rizzo their top first base option this offseason.

H-Town fell short on Rizzo (without a GM, very impressive), but recovered to sign Jose Abreu and improve the best lineup in baseball in the short-term. Their interest in Benintendi still seems legitimate, and if the Yankees make one more play in the deep end of the pool for Carlos Rodón, it doesn’t seem like they’d have enough cash to bring back Benny (who apparently would rather play in the midwest or south anyway).

Still, Houston is apparently prowling the market and is intrigued by Daulton Varsho, the most “untouchable” of all the possibly-touchable Diamondbacks outfielders currently on the trade market.

Presumably, the Yankees have also touched on Varsho in recent discussions, as well as Jake McCarthy, Alek Thomas and Twins outfielder Max Kepler, who makes hard contact but has never played left field. Meow, catfight!

Will Houston Astros eat Yankees lunch on Daulton Varsho trade?

Finding the Astros lurking in the Varsho trade talks is like finding “Walking Dead” zombies two states over. Come ON, man! You don’t even LIVE here!

Personally, we at Yanks Go Yard considered Varsho nearly as untouchable as top prospect Corbin Carroll; he posted 4.9 WAR and his 27 bombs with a 109 OPS+ last season, and is still just 26 years old. If the Diamondbacks feel otherwise, though, he’d be by far the best target of the four listed outfielders, and the Astros swiping him would be a bit of a gut punch.

His defense is his calling card; Varsho sported a ridiculous 10 Outs Above Average in right last season, as well as 8 more OAA in center. Left field at Yankee Stadium can be somewhat challenging, and if the Bombers plan to switch someone’s position to help cover it, it would help if it were someone smoother than Kepler and someone who’s less of an infielder than Oswaldo Cabrera.

Beware of Varsho’s Savant numbers offensively, but the difference between his averages and where he maxes out (25th percentile average exit velo/66th percentile maximum exit velo) indicates there’s something there for a hitting coach to work with — you know, besides the 27 home runs.

The outfield trade market feels weak, outside of Bryan Reynolds, so leave it to the Astros to pluck out the one good peach from the pile and make things difficult for Brian Cashman.