The Yankees might be forced to add a quality infielder at the trade deadline

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Colorado Rockies, ryan mcmahon, yankees
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With the trade deadline approaching at the end of July, the Yankees have a few significant decisions to make regarding reinforcements and whether they want to offload some prospect talent to improve their MLB roster.

Just before the 2024 season kicked off, the Yankees acquired Jon Berti to support the infield from the Miami Marlins. While Berti is a solid option on the hot corner, he isn’t considered a World Series-caliber piece, and the Yanks may be looking for that type of quality.

Yankees’ Trade Deadline Strategy and Infield Considerations

They recently welcomed back DJ LeMahieu, their 35-year-old veteran utility man, but he’s been nothing but disappointing since making his return. It was fair to give him plenty of time to rehabilitate and find his groove, but LeMahieu had already been showing signs of decline in 2023, so the Yankees need to be proactive in finding additional talent.

Potential Acquisition: Ryan McMahon

This season, LeMahieu is hitting just .154/.313/.154, suggesting he’s lacking significant power and struggling to make quality contact. It took half of the 2023 season for DJ to start trending in the right direction, so there is hope that the Yankees can still extract value, but that shouldn’t stop them from upgrading the roster if they have an opportunity.

MLB: New York Yankees at Los Angeles Angels, dj lemahieu
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Recently, Jeff Passan of ESPN pointed to Ryan McMahon of the Colorado Rockies as a potential target for the Yankees. McMahon, 29 years old and a lefty batter, which is a preference for the Yankees, is having a career year, hitting .272/.357/.448, including 10 homers and 34 RBIs, with a 27.6% strikeout rate and 11.6% walk rate.

The concern about McMahon is that this is the first year he’s been considered an above-average offensive piece in terms of wRC+ for three consecutive years. His strikeout rate can be a bit problematic, but he’s maintained a batting average of .240 or better for four seasons, including this year.

There’s plenty of reason to appreciate him in the Yankees’ lineup, not to mention his quality defense and the ability to play first and second base if need be. Last season, he recorded 17 defensive runs saved and 11 outs above average across 1,103 innings at third. That type of versatility is invaluable, and he would certainly boost their offensive capacity compared to LeMahieu.

MLB: Colorado Rockies at San Francisco Giants, Ryan McMahon, yankees
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It is important to note that McMahon is on a six-year, $70 million deal that expires after the 2027 season, but the deal includes a conditional opt-out after 2025 and 2026.

The Rockies have been opposed to trading him, but they are one of the worst teams in baseball and might look to sell at the deadline, opening up the opportunity for the Yankees to improve their roster.

Simply put, the Yankees have a strong team that dodged a major injury bullet, with Juan Soto avoiding the injured list due to forearm discomfort. When it comes to roster construction, the grass is always greener, and making a move to upgrade the third base position would only put them in a more advantageous spot heading into the playoffs when September rolls around.

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