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Yankees Potential Trade Target: Tyrone Taylor

The Brewers outfielder would fit well in New York’s depth chart.

Arizona Diamondbacks v Milwaukee Brewers Photo by Kayla Wolf/Getty Images

Recently I found myself looking at the Zips projections for the Milwaukee Brewers, and one of the things that jump out for their squad —apart from the well-documented elite pitching, both in the rotation and bullpen — is their organizational depth, especially in the outfield.

Christian Yelich isn’t the player he used to be, but he still provides good on-base skills, and Milwaukee is locked onto him in left. Young names like Garrett Mitchell, Sal Frelick, and Joey Wiemer are knocking down the door, and the team surely wants to give Jesse Winker some reps in the outfield, even if he ends up primarily DHing.

This influx of players who are expected to contribute to the big league club in some way or another, creates a bit of a logjam, even without considering one of the most hyped prospects in baseball in center fielder Jackson Chourio, who is still, at minimum, a year-plus away from The Show. That creates the opportunity for the Brewers front office to roll the dice on trading a player or two and dealing from a position of strength.

They did just that with the William Contreras deal, trading away Esteury Ruiz among other players involved to Oakland, but they could still be looking to deal. If they are, Tyrone Taylor is a target that the Yankees could pursue to bulk up their depth in the outfield. Taylor is entering his age-29 season, but for a player approaching his thirties, he doesn’t have a lot of mileage in the big leagues. The center fielder was a bit of a late bloomer and only started getting consistent playing time in Milwaukee during the 2021 campaign.

Much like the last center that Brian Cashman plucked from the NL Central in Harrison Bader, Taylor’s calling card is his defense, having helped Milwaukee make a somewhat smooth transition from the aging Lorenzo Cain. Taylor got significant reps at all three outfield spots in 2021 but moved primarily to center in ‘22, playing 84 games at the position and finishing the year in the 92nd percentile in Outs Above Average.

A defense-first player may bring up unwelcome flashbacks to last offseason’s moves, but Taylor’s bat has managed to exceed the baseline expectations so far. Since getting the callup to the bigs, Taylor has a 106 wRC+ across 250 games. For the purposes of comparison, while the overall sample is significantly smaller, Taylor beats out Bader there, the latter of whom has a 97 wRC+ in a little more than double the games (537). I’m not saying Taylor will be a better hitter than Bader over the next three seasons or even next year, but the fact that they’re somewhat comparable is definitely intriguing.

As long as expectations are properly managed, a hitter like Taylor could come in and help rotate all three outfield spots, while maintaining plus defense, and not compromising on the hitting side of things. These types of players don’t make headlines, but they’re a huge part of why a team like the Rays keeps competing year after year. You can’t ever underestimate the importance of depth in all facets of a big-league club.

Taylor is controllable through the 2026 season, and Milwaukee won’t be in any rush to deal him, but depending on how strongly they feel about some of their bats (Wiemer, Frelick) in making an immediate impact, they could conceivably consider moving a player that’s out of minor league options. The Yankees also feel like the exact type of system with intriguing, but not high-end arms to move in a deal like this.

Taylor could easily fit into an Opening Day roster one way or another, but of course some other moves would have to follow to determine where exactly he would fit. His versatility leads him to be a solid fourth outfielder candidate, but that would necessitate an Aaron Hicks move to open the roster spot. Regardless of how things shape up, adding a player of Taylor’s capabilities could never hurt — and perhaps it would stimulate a follow-up move sooner rather than later.