The New York Yankees’ left field situation remains an ongoing debate with no clear solution. It’s an exhausting topic that will eventually make everyone realize we wasted hours, days, and weeks of our lives speculating on upgrades that were never likely.
Keep dreaming on Bryan Reynolds. The Pittsburgh Pirates aren’t going down without a fight to obtain the best possible prospects in a given deal. Ian Happ is a Chicago Cubs for at least the first few months of 2023. Perhaps he’ll be available at the trade deadline. Any of the Arizona Diamondbacks options? Eh, the best one went to the Blue Jays. Is anyone else really an upgrade?
Do the Yankees need another All-Star-caliber left fielder? No. The entire roster doesn’t need to be filled with the best possible players. Not even the Mets, who have a ~$350 million payroll, boast such a luxury.
If the Yankees can’t capitalize on the trade market — and right now it’s looking like they indeed won’t — expect an in-house battle between Aaron Hicks, Oswaldo Cabrera and Estevan Florial. And don’t get mad at us for saying that (even though we’ve repeatedly believed it to be true).
This time, you can blame the YES Network, specifically Jack Curry and John Flaherty, who talked about the scenarios on Monday night’s “Yankees Hot Stove.”
Expect an in-house battle for the Yankees’ left field position
The Yankees are paying Hicks $10 million per year. Cabrera has emerged as a legitimate utility asset who could absorb reps in left field if need be. Florial is on the 40-man roster, and it’s now or never for the 25-year-old.
Unless the Yankees DFA Hicks (nobody is trading for him), use Cabrera primarily in the infield, and jettison Florial in some manner, there are options to fill the left field void for the time being. The Opening Day roster won’t be static for the entirety of the season, or even the first half.
What is frustrating, however, is Flaherty suggesting Hicks could experience some sort of revival after a cumulative below-average showing since the start of the 2019 season (which was also affected by injuries).
Hicks has said all the wrong things, constantly exhibits body language that suggests he has no interest in baseball, and would’ve been run out of town last year, had he not hit that three-run homer of Astros’ closer Ryan Pressly. Let’s not start selling fans on his potential from four years ago.
Watching it is one thing, but talking about something that has a minuscule chance of happening isn’t going to engage fans or excite them in any way.