Michael Kay, Jack Curry agree Yankees’ left fielder isn’t on roster yet


Sometimes, the roster you put forth in October looks very little like the roster that emerges from spring training. It’s difficult to preach patience for a fan base that’s been title-starved for 13+ years and is getting sick of broken promises, but those very same fans don’t have to look far in the rearview mirror for an example of left field being addressed in-season. There’s a reason Andrew Benintendi was acquired at the trade deadline.

Still, for some, planning to eventually make a splash is no plan at all. The trade deadline is supposed to be an opportunity to seek out unforeseen upgrades, turn a good team into a great one, and fill any gaps that presented themselves due to poor injury luck. It’s not a safe bet to assume everything will fall into place and the Yankees will receive the left fielder of their dreams.

That said, it would be downright foolish to believe the Yankees envision Aaron Hicks starting in left for Game 1 of the ALDS, and in between hyping up his ability to fill the role, Jack Curry and Michael Kay agreed on that point on Thursday’s edition of the Hot Stove show on YES.

In discussing the ongoing vacancy, Kay and Curry didn’t point to Rafael Ortega and Willie Calhoun, wipe their hands off and say, “Problem solved.” Kay, specifically, stated:

"“I think left field is a work in progress. I don’t think that the Yankee left fielder for the majority of the season is on the team right now.”"

While failing to plan for the now may be a plan to fail, the bottom line is that a sputtered-out Bryan Reynolds pursuit clearly doesn’t represent the end for Brian Cashman and the Yankees’ front office.

Yankees left fielder isn’t on roster, per Michael Kay and Jack Curry

As for Reynolds specifically, Curry and Kay were aligned that nothing is moving there. The Pirates’ ask has been impressively gigantic and unwieldy thus far, and the Yankees certainly have no plans to dump two of their three top prospects for a potential 3-WAR player.

As Curry put it bluntly:

"“I would not expect that that is something that’s going to happen. There haven’t been substantive conversations between those two sides recently.”"

As frustrating as it is that the Pirates are treating Reynolds like Prime Bonds, that certainly serves as another reality check for a Yankees team content with wading past Opening Day with a hole in the lineup. Teams can value their players however they’d like to. Teams don’t have to value players in whatever manner is most beneficial for the New York Yankees.

That said, it’s at least a little encouraging that they’re not bending over backwards to add a Max Kepler type to the roster, or someone else who may not be an upgrade over their incumbents.

As the market has gotten pricier, the league’s smartest teams have mostly laid low, preferring not to talk themselves into incremental-at-best upgrades.

Now, of course, those teams are … better than the Yankees, which is why they were afforded that luxury.

Still, good teams overpay, great teams develop. The looming issue here is whether or not deadline competition again pushes the left field market into a place that makes Cashman and the Yankees uncomfortable. Considering the corner they’re backed into, that could lead to an ideological clash with October on the line.

Remember, though: Troy Tulowitzki started on Opening Day 2019. DJ LeMahieu and Gio Urshela didn’t. Seasons unfold in vastly different ways. Hell, Ortega could be the guy!

Here’s hoping the Yankees know exactly who they’re eyeing and how to plug that gap, though, because if they’re betting on the market falling to them, they’re sorely misguided.