The New York Yankees dominated their top two priorities this winter by re-signing Aaron Judge for life and importing left-hander Carlos Rodón to back up Gerrit Cole in the rotation, but they remain out in the cold in their attempts to secure a left fielder (and could use some left-handers for the lineup in general).
Michael Conforto’s two-year contract with the Giants, signed Friday, eliminates the last non-Jurickson Profar option in the free agent pool. Michael Brantley was probably not a reasonable fit, but he opted to remain an Astro anyway. Andrew Benintendi got his five years in Chicago. That leaves the trade market, which is inching along at Sal Fasano’s pace.
The Yankees have been connected to Bryan Reynolds plenty, but the latest reports indicate the Pirates are looking for high-end prospect pitchers, something the Yankees don’t possess (and the Blue Jays and Dodgers do). Unless New York can swing a three-teamer, that option is probably out (and the Pirates might want until the trade deadline anyway).
The Diamondbacks have always been the most likely option as a trade partner. Arizona will hand the keys to Corbin Carroll in 2023, squeezing out at least one of Alek Thomas, Jake McCarthy and Daulton Varsho. All three had problems making consistent hard contact in 2022, but both Thomas and Varsho have top prospect pedigree, and McCarthy is a certified burner who could bring an interesting element to the field (but probably isn’t a shoo-in starter anywhere next season).
At least one of the Diamondbacks’ trio clearly has his eyes on the Yankees, which only gets more intriguing after Varsho was dealt to the Blue Jays on Friday as well.
Thomas left a comment on Rodón’s Instagram post announcing his move the Yanks on Thursday that only underscores recent trade market rumblings. (View it here).
Yankees Rumors: Diamondbacks OF Alek Thomas eyeing NYY?
Thomas’ rookie season did not go as planned after he finished 2021 as MLB Pipeline’s No. 82 prospect in baseball. He was worth 1.4 bWAR in 381 at-bats, but hit just 8 homers with a .619 OPS/76 OPS+ as a 22-year-old.
His age alone indicates Thomas has plenty of time to bounce back, let alone his pedigree. At this moment, though, he has accomplished the least in the majors out of Arizona’s available trio.
Varsho seemed to be the flashiest possible addition (spectacular defense, plus 27 homers don’t lie), but Thomas was very recently the apple of most Diamondbacks prospectors’ eyes. If he’s commenting fire emojis on Rodón, it’s quite possible he knows something about his next steps. Great pickup if he puts in the work (and if the Bombers have a plan).