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Yankees trade for Arizona center fielder Tim Locastro

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On this rainy day, the Yankees acquire a center fielder from Arizona — just not the one that you wanted.

Arizona Diamondbacks v St Louis Cardinals Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

The game may have been postponed due to rain, but the front office evidently didn’t take the day off, as the New York Yankees acquired speedy outfielder Tim Locastro from the Arizona Diamondbacks. According to Lindsey Adler of The Athletic, who broke the story, the Yankees will be sending Double-A pitcher Keegan Curtis to the Diamondbacks as part of the exchange.

With Aaron Hicks out for the season and Brett Gardner struggling, many have expected the Yankees to pounce on a center fielder at the earliest possible opportunity, and the Diamondbacks have often been highlighted as a potential trade partner for the Yankees. But in many ways, this deal has come a bit out of nowhere. In trading for Locastro, the Yankees have somehow reeled in one of the few available players who has been hitting worse than the guys that they have been trotting out there on a nightly basis, as Locastro’s slashline of .178/.271/.220 gives him a 38 OPS+, which is better than only Jay Bruce and Chris Gittens out of players who have played ten or more games for the Yankees this season. It is worth noting that he did hit much better last season — he posted a career-high 131 OPS+ in 33 games — that stretch is currently an outlier for Locastro and his career-78 OPS+.

If there’s one thing that Locastro has in abundance, however, it’s speed: he was the fastest player in baseball in 2019 and 2020 and has been the tied for second-fastest in the league this season, tied with Trea Turner and behind only old friend Jorge Matteo. For a team as bad on the basepaths as the Yankees are, that speed adds a new dimension to the lineup that could help jumpstart the offense — so long as he gets on base, that is.

Believe it or not, this is technically Locastro’s second go-round with the Yankees, as he spent a few weeks on the Yankees’ 40-man roster between the 2018 and 2019 seasons, which suggests that he is somebody the Yankees have had their eyes on for quite some time. Expect him to actually don the pinstripes this time around, and let’s hope he channels Gio Urshela and Luke Voit more than Chris Carter and Kendrys Morales.