The Yankees have expressed a desire to upgrade in center field, regardless of Aaron Hicks’ health status, and they could look within the division to make that move.
According to Lindsey Adler of The Athletic, the Yanks have “expressed some interest” in Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier, one of the top defensive center fielders in all of baseball. Kiermaier, according to Ken Rosenthal, is being discussed in trades along with Yankee killer Joey Wendle as Tampa Bay looks to make room on its 40-man roster.
Per Rosenthal, the Phillies have had trade discussions in regards to Kiermaier, who is due to make $12 million in 2022.
Kiermaier, 31, is signed through next season on a six-year, $53 million deal with a team option for 2023. His glove is elite, but his bat is barely above league average when using OPS+. Kiermaier finished with a 104 OPS+ last season, hitting just four home runs while batting .259 with a lowly .388 slugging percentage. Despite his uncanny ability to cover ground in the outfield, Kiermaier stole just nine bases last year across 122 games.
Brian Cashman has said publicly that the team wants to address center field, even with Hicks advancing to play winter ball as he recovers from a torn tendon sheath in his wrist. It doesn’t sound like talks regarding Kiermaier are in any kind of advanced stage, but he could be a name to keep an eye on.
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