And this, my friends, is why you don't wait to address a glaring hole until the trade deadline. You never know when the rest of baseball will team up to close that possibility for you.
The Yankees entered 2023 with a left field plan of "Andrew Benintend--well, nope, but how about Oswaldo Cabrera," and so far, it's not going so well. Cabrera is a lovable spark plug and (usually) a defensive wizard, and it feels genuinely unkind taking him to task for his contributions. That said, Cabrera is hitting .211 through 20 games. He has walked twice (well, once intentionally, so three times). He turned a 70% catch probability fly ball to left into a two-out RBI double in last night's drudge match of a loss in Minnesota. His wRC+ is 38.
So, what next? Cubs slugger Ian Happ? Well ... the Cubs are contending in April in the NL Central, whether that ends up meaning anything or not. As part of their five-year plan, they extended Happ, a switch-hitting Jomboy collaborator, through the 2026 season.
Ah! So much for that! But what about Pirates star Bryan Reynolds? He'd cost the most of any acquisition, and Pittsburgh didn't seem thrilled with the Yankees' offerings after the outfielder requested a trade this winter, but he's still on the marke--welp. About that.
Reynolds and the Pirates finalized the largest deal in Pittsburgh's illustrious history on Tuesday, the first-ever Pirates contract to pass the $100 million threshold. Now the Yankees ... wait some more.
Pirates extend Bryan Reynolds, Yankees move on to Plan C
They shook hands on the opt-out clause, huh? Well, you know what that means! Isiah Kiner-Falefa, time to grab your left fielder's glove!
In reality, though, the Yankees' options in free agency in 2023-24 are now quite bleak (and include Harrison Bader, who must be re-signed if they want to extend the partnership). Cody Bellinger tickle anyone's fancy, after the Cubs reignited him? Hunter Renfroe, on his record 13th team in four years (slight exaggeration)? Do you trust Adam Duvall of the Red Sox? He seems like a Boston hero already and also has a wrist fracture.
Sign Shohei Ohtani and move Giancarlo Stanton to left field permanently/Ohtani to DH?! Sounds like an easy way to spend $600 million and also have Oswaldo Cabrera back out there by May 1.
Trade for Kris Bryant's massive contract? The Rockies could possibly be convinced, but ... bailing after just one year? And are we sure the Yankees should entertain that?
In short, there's a reason Pittsburgh is laughing at us right now.
The Yankees had better hope that either Jones or Dominguez becomes too hot to handle over the next two years. Elijah Dunham? You, too.
After Reynolds and Happ were fervently taken off the table, it's time for the Yankees to go internal after "splurging" on a better one-year stopgap than Aaron Hicks next offseason.