Yankees have no choice but to target these 2 outfielders

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Chicago Cubs, yankees, cody bellinger
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees, after a disheartening series sweep by the Los Angeles Angels, find themselves struggling 3.5 games back in the Wild Card standings. Their once shimmering World Series aspirations are fading, with the trade deadline a crucial focal point for General Manager Brian Cashman’s plans to revive the Bombers’ 2023 season.

Complicating matters further, the Yankees’ recent loss of Harrison Bader to injury and evident player frustrations are only exacerbating the situation. Notably, Carlos Rodon’s conspicuous reaction to crowd criticism and Tommy Kahnle’s dugout outburst have highlighted the increasing tension within the team.

The question arises, what could potentially salvage the Yankees’ season? A triumphant return of Aaron Judge to reinvigorate the offense? Or Cashman’s crafty maneuvers in the transfer market? It seems that a combination of both will be required to steer the ship back on track.

The Imperative to Secure Outfielders: Cody Bellinger & Dylan Carlson

With Bader’s injury potentially sidelining him for some time, securing a new outfielder is now a top priority for the Yankees. Two key players have emerged as primary targets: Cody Bellinger and Dylan Carlson.

Cody Bellinger: A Potent Force for the Yankees?

Bellinger has been closely linked to the Yankees in recent months. The 28-year-old, currently in a contract season, has an option for the 2024 campaign at $17.5 million. However, should the Yankees acquire him, they might prefer to secure him on a more substantial deal.

In the current season, Bellinger boasts a .311 batting average, .367 OBP, and has recorded 12 homers, 35 RBIs, and 12 stolen bases. His strikeout rate stands at 17.4%, walk rate at 8.1%, and an impressive 138 wRC+.

Bellinger’s excellent July performance is notable, with a .456 batting average, .492 OBP, .772 slugging rate, and 1.264 OPS. Furthermore, he has delivered multiple hits in five of his last six games. These statistics demonstrate Bellinger’s potential to significantly bolster the Yankees’ offense.

As for his defensive skills, Bellinger has proven to be equally competent. His .993 fielding percentage over 160.1 innings in the outfield and 31 career defensive runs saved indicate his valuable defensive contribution. Should Bader’s absence prolong, Bellinger could fill in and later transition to the left once Bader returns.

However, if the Yankees are to acquire Bellinger, they must consider him beyond just a rental for boosting their now-distant World Series aspirations.

Dylan Carlson: A Youthful Prospect for the Future?

The Yankees’ recent investments in aging players call for a shift in strategy, making 24-year-old Dylan Carlson a worthwhile consideration.

Despite recent benching to allow other players a chance to prove their worth, Carlson’s decent season figures make him a strong contender. Carlson has a .236 batting average, .344 OBP, five homers, 21 RBIs, a 20.1% strikeout rate, and 11% walk rate.

Carlson’s 37.2% hard-hit rate, 7.3% barrel rate, 89.5 average exit velocity, and 12.8° launch angle point to significant untapped potential. If the Yankees can enhance his flyball rate, which currently sits at 36%, they might extract more homers, particularly when Carlson bats left-handed at Yankee Stadium.

Carlson, under contract until 2027, offers a cost-effective option for the future. His current salary is a mere $742K. Given his young age and promising potential, the Yankees might provide the ideal environment for Carlson to reach his peak.

In terms of defensive contributions, Carlson has recorded a .992 fielding percentage across 442 innings in the outfield. If the Yankees acquire him, he might step in as the right fielder until Aaron Judge returns.

Long-Term Investment in Bellinger and Carlson

Acquiring both Bellinger and Carlson not only boosts the Yankees’ offensive capabilities in the short term but also promises long-term benefits. Both players offer above-average bats and show promise for a brighter future in pinstripes.

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