It is no secret that the New York Yankees are looking for help in their outfield. At the same time, the Pittsburgh Pirates are willing to listen on Bryan Reynolds. It would make sense for the two sides to discuss a possible deal.
According to Jon Morosi, that is the case. The Yankees and Pirates have reportedly been in contact regarding Reynolds, who would certainly fill a need in New York. However, the Pirates are also reportedly looking for pitching to headline the return while the Yankees’ farm system is led by position players. This has led to some speculation on social media that Nestor Cortes Jr. would be the headliner in any such deal.
New York Yankees need to hang up phone if Nestor Cortes Jr. part of Pittsburgh Pirates asking price
If Cortes is part of the asking price, the Yankees need to hang up the phone and move on. Cortes is a key part of their rotation even with Carlos Rodon coming on board, and may well be the best third starter in the game. He is also exactly what is needed by the Yankees in their rotation.
One can understand why there would be such speculation about Cortes. He had a career year in 2022, posting a 2.44 ERA and a 0.922 WHiP over his 158.1 innings, striking out 163 batters with 38 walks. As he is just 28 years old and has several years of team control left, Cortes could be the type of pitcher that the Pirates could look to build around.
At the same time, the Yankees do theoretically have plenty of depth in the rotation. Frankie Montas and Domingo German are set to battle for the fifth starter spot in the rotation, with the loser heading to a long relief role and to be a depth option. Trading Cortes would allow both Montas and German to take spots in the rotation with Clarke Schmidt likely serving as the next man up.
But that is not the type of pitching staff that a viable contender would have. Trading Cortes leaves the Yankees in the same spot with their rotation. Although Aaron Hicks is no one’s ideal situation as a starter, there are other left field options available in free agency. Likewise, there are other teams that could be looking to make a deal without having to let Cortes go. Trading Cortes, or another team asking for him as part of a trade package, has to be a non-starter.
Nestor Cortes Jr. is a key part of the New York Yankees present and future. Any trade discussions involving him would not make any sense.