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Yankees rumors: New York not expected to pursue Yoenis Cespedes in free agency

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Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Despite rumors having already circled that the Yankees might look to make a trade involving one of their outfielders to free up space for a free agent, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports writes that Yoenis Cespedes won't be a target for the team. Cespedes has already been playing in New York, of course, after his surprising mid-season trade to the World Series-bound Mets. By all accounts, Cespedes has enjoyed his time in the city and could even end up re-signing with the team from Flushing after the season ends.

To bring in any free agent outfielder on the market, the Yankees would need to part ways with one of Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury, or Carlos Beltran. Ellsbury's contract seems pretty close to unmovable, which leaves one of Gardner or Beltran who would need to go. Beltran is in the final year of his deal and is only an outfielder at this stage because the Yankees have Alex Rodriguez occupying the DH role. Beltran really turned on his offense in the second half of the season to salvage some incredibly dismal early numbers, so a team with a need for a power bat could be interested if their DH spot is open. The more attractive option, most likely, would be to trade Gardner's team-friendly contract. The excellent defender can play anywhere in the outfield with the best in the business, and has seen a surprising surge in home run power the last couple of seasons. Betting on Gardner to be the one traded, if a trade happens at all, seems like it would be the smart money.

If the Yankees do want a change in the outfield but continue to not have interest in Cespedes, options like Jason Heyward exist on the market as well. With top prospect Aaron Judge looming at Triple-A it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to block up the outfield with long-term contracts that would pretty much relegate Judge to trade bait. Of course, Judge is still a prospect who hasn't shown the ability to hit Triple-A pitching, much less anything at the big league level, so planning too much of the future with him in mind might not be the best strategy anyway.

Are the Yankees making a mistake in not pursuing Cespedes this winter? Do you think they will trade away an outfielder to bring in someone new before next season?