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Yankees acquire outfielder Greg Allen for James Reeves

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Another possible bench player enters the fold for 2021.

Cleveland Indians v New York Yankees Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Remember trades? They’re this wild concept where you exchange someone from your roster for someone on another team. Variations may occur, but they were once pretty common in the world of the Yankees! Well, until this afternoon — when the world’s attention was definitely on the ol’ New York Nine — there hadn’t been any Yankees trades since the August deadline.

I suppose that it shouldn’t be any surprise that this offseason’s transaction kings, the Padres, were involved in the deal. According to Joel Sherman and Robert Murray, the Yankees sent minor league pitcher James Reeves to San Diego for Greg Allen, who will be 28 by Opening Day. The outfielder was designated for assignment last week to make room for Ha-Seong Kim.

All but one game of Allen’s four-year MLB career came with his original team, Cleveland. He has never been much of a hitter, managing a mere .239/.298/.343 triple slash in 221 games with eight homers and a 69 wRC+. The San Diego native and SDSU alum was dealt back home in the big Mike Clevinger trade, but wasn’t a factor in the Padres’ first playoff run since 2006.

Allen is known for solid defense, as he has annually rated above-average according to Statcast’s OAA metrics. He’s also a fast runner, as evidenced by his 32 career steals, a total that includes his 21 in 2018 alone. In 2019, Baseball Savant ranked his sprint speed in the 92nd percentile, and he can really track down a long fly:

This seems to be merely a move to increase the Yankees’ depth beyond its current state. Of the six outfielders on their current 40-man roster, one is basically a DH at this point (Giancarlo Stanton) and another has three career at-bats (Estevan Florial). They needed a bit more backup.

If Allen even makes the Opening Day roster, it will be in a reserve role if someone gets hurt, and the more likely scenario is that he’ll just head to Triple-A Scranton — if he’s still on the 40-man by Opening Day at all. Brian Cashman will probably end up adding another outfielder beyond Allen before the offseason is done, and the smart money says that Brett Gardner simply returns for another rodeo, too.

As for the pitcher the Yankees sent to San Diego in the trade, Reeves is just a few months younger than Allen and has only appeared in one game above Double-A. Primarily a lefty reliever in the minors, he was drafted out of The Citadel in 2015 and last recorded a 1.87 ERA, 0.995 WHIP, and 11.1 K/9 in 33 games between Trenton and Tampa in 2019, albeit with only decent control (3.5 BB/9). Given that he’ll turn 28 in June and has minimal experience against MLB-caliber hitters, Reeves was expendable in exchange for big league depth.