Yankees insider has bold prediction for left field that now has fans thinking

Division Series - Cleveland Guardians v New York Yankees - Game Five
Division Series - Cleveland Guardians v New York Yankees - Game Five / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

Unless there's a massive change in fortune, the New York Yankees will have an underwhelming group of players to choose from for the starting left fielder job. Some are predicting Aaron Hicks will come out on top. So, yeah, it's bleak.

For those still holding out hope that the team's starting left fielder isn't on the roster at the moment, you'll feel good about The Athletic's Brendan Kuty predicting just that in a recent article (subscription required) about pertinent roster battles that will occur during spring training.

Acknowledging that all of Hicks, Oswaldo Cabrera, Estevan Florial, Willie Calhoun and Rafael Ortega will be competing for supremacy once position players report to Tampa, Kuty doesn't think any will emerge as the Yankees' preferred option (and that Cabrera will preferably be utilized as a utility infielder, which was seemingly always the plan).

But who will it be, then? Kuty makes a ton of valuable points, starting with general manager Brian Cashman's "endorsement" for Hicks, saying he "suspects" the veteran will emerge as the top option. Sounds like a lot of confidence right there. Then you have Estevan Florial, who's yet to prove much of anything outside of his range-y glove. Rafael Ortega and Willie Calhoun face uphill battles, armed only with non-roster invites to spring training.

Is the asking price on Bryan Reynolds about to decrease to the Yankees' liking? Is Ian Happ magically going to become available? Will Cashman contact the Diamondbacks about their outfield surplus? Will he surrender to the underwhelming idea of acquiring Max Kepler?

Who will the Yankees starting left fielder be on Opening Day?

The Yankees have clearly had reservations about the trade market as well as inheriting more salary (they're pressed up against the final luxury tax threshold and reportedly want to avoid passing it). Those aspects greatly limit what they can do.

There have been very few trades this offseason so there's a possibility the market picks up a little bit as players begin reporting to spring training and as games get underway. Injuries will happen. Teams will identify more pressing needs than they previously accounted for.

The Yankees can technically still make something happen if they move Gleyber Torres and his $9.95 million or Isiah Kiner-Falefa and his $6 million ... or if they're willing to pay a portion of what's owed to Hicks or Josh Donaldson. All of those scenarios create more financial flexibility for them to make another addition.

We're still on board with the true left fielder arriving somewhere around the trade deadline. The Yankees managed to win 99 games last year in spite of the lackluster contributions from Hicks and Donaldson, and the roster is technically better heading into 2023. They should be able to get by.

And if they can't? Well, then the problems with this roster construction/clubhouse were a lot more detrimental than we could've imagined.