Yankees could look to off-load $20 million infielder at the deadline

anthony rizzo, yankees
May 14, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees first baseman Anthony Rizzo (48) watches his two run home run against the Tampa Bay Rays during the third inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees, currently unsure whether to buy at the trade deadline, face a predicament. The scarcity of available talent and other teams’ shifting focus toward a playoff spot makes trading valuable assets risky. The Yankees, given their current status, could face a setback if they part with top prospects for potentially short-term players.

The Potential Impact of Acquiring Cody Bellinger

While landing Cody Bellinger might deliver immediate results for the Yankees, it necessitates parting with significant value. Moreover, Bellinger’s impending free agency after this season further complicates the matter. General Manager Brian Cashman might have to consider offloading some salary and target Bellinger as a potential extension for the 2024 season and beyond.

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The Yankees’ Competition in a Tight Market

Teams like the Los Angeles Angels, initiating last-minute buy-ins for a playoff push with Shohei Ohtani, pose serious competition for the Yankees in a relatively thin market. This situation might force the Yankees to part with more talent than initially intended.

Offloading Anthony Rizzo and his Contract

Should the Yankees consider selling rather than buying expensive pieces, offloading first baseman Anthony Rizzo and his contract could be an option. Despite Rizzo’s adequate performance, his declining form and his impending $20 million payment for the 2024 season present a potential financial obstacle for the Yankees.

Considering Other Role Shifts and Acquisitions

The Yankees might contemplate moving DJ LeMahieu to first base or alternating Cody Bellinger in the position. Assuming the Yankees sign Bellinger in the upcoming free agency, this shift could work, especially given Bellinger’s extensive experience at first base. In addition, freeing up salary space might open avenues for pursuing talents like Ohtani, Joc Pederson, Matt Chapman, and Jeimer Candelario.

Strategic Reallocation of Rizzo’s Salary

Using Rizzo’s salary more strategically might be beneficial for the Yankees. Rather than investing in older players whose value tends to diminish with age, the Yankees might be better off considering younger options like Matt Chapman. In addition, players like DJ LeMahieu could also be considered for offloading due to his high salary.

Navigating Contractual Challenges

The Yankees find themselves encumbered with burdensome contracts and decreasing productivity. Although moving Giancarlo Stanton’s deal is virtually impossible due to his no-trade clause, shedding some dead weight could provide the Yankees with more salary allocation flexibility for the next winter season.