As the All-Star break approaches in a week, followed by the August trade deadline, the New York Yankees will have some time to rest, heal, and scout potential trade targets. If they aim to enhance their chances of competing for a World Series title, shopping in the summer market is an option.
General Manager Brian Cashman and the Yankees have consistently tried to fill gaps in the team through trade deadline deals each year. However, these efforts have often proved fruitless, leading to inefficiencies.
Last year’s acquisitions of Andrew Benintendi and Frankie Montas resulted in net negative impacts, as the Yankees traded away several valuable prospects in the process.
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Yankees’ Pursuit for Outfield Upgrade
Cashman has expressed the Yankees’ interest in adding an outfielder. Given the unsatisfactory performance in the left field position, an upgrade is likely still on the agenda.
As selling teams emerge in the market, the Yankees are expected to be on the hunt for potential starting outfielders.
Potential Trade Targets
Cody Bellinger of the Chicago Cubs
One of the players that the Yankees might consider is the Chicago Cubs’ outfielder, Cody Bellinger. At 27 years old, Bellinger is on a one-year, $17.5 million contract, which includes a 2024 mutual option. This could be a cost-effective acquisition as the Yankees seek to avoid trading away their top prospects.
Bellinger is currently batting .261 with a .325 OBP this season, including seven home runs, 22 RBIs, and ten stolen bases in 48 games. However, he’s seen a drop in his career-hard-hit rate to 30.1%, with a 5.6% barrel rate and an average exit velocity of 86.6 mph.
Despite being only slightly above average in offense this season, Bellinger’s phenomenal defensive skills could potentially solidify the Yankees’ outfield. If Aaron Judge is forced to miss games beyond the deadline due to injuries, Bellinger could fill in full-time.
The downside is that Bellinger has been underperforming offensively for the past two years. With recent injuries and a June batting average of .222, Bellinger might be a risk for the Yankees.
Joc Pederson of the San Francisco Giants
Joc Pederson, currently with the San Francisco Giants, is another possible target. The Giants might look to leverage Pederson and his one-year deal for a haul of prospects.
Pederson, 31, is having a solid offensive season, hitting .259 with a .379 OBP, including eight home runs and 30 RBIs. This performance could incentivize the Giants to capitalize on his current value.
A proposed deal from The Athletic suggested trading right-handed pitcher Will Warren, a rising star in the Yankees’ minor-league system, in exchange for Pederson and cash. This might prove to be an error, given that Pederson is on an expiring contract and could leave after the current season.
Bowden says: This is a solid trade idea for both teams. It might actually be a slight overpay for the Yankees but probably would be worth it to them. Pederson, thanks to advice from Barry Bonds, has learned how to pull the ball on inside pitches and would be extremely dangerous playing half his games at Yankee Stadium with the short confines of right field.
Pederson has only played nine innings in the outfield this season, largely filling the designated hitter spot currently occupied by Giancarlo Stanton. The two veterans could theoretically share outfield time, promoting health and maximizing offensive involvement.
The decision to trade Pederson ultimately depends on the Giants’ strategy for the rest of the year – they could either build on their momentum towards a playoff run or replenish their prospect pool with near-MLB-ready players.
At present, the Yankees possess several key talents in their minor league system who are unable to break into the major league due to existing roadblocks. Capitalizing on these talents by leveraging their minor-league statistics might be a sensible strategy. However, it is worth noting that a decision to trade Will Warren could potentially lead to future regrets, considering his potential value.