Yankees could lose out on top outfield trade target

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Chicago White Sox, yankees, cody bellinger
Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

After suffering a 9–3 defeat at the hands of the New York Mets on Tuesday night, the need for outfield support for the Yankees is glaringly evident. Missed high-probability catches suggest a pressing requirement for a strategic move from general manager Brian Cashman. While the Yankees are still contenders in the Wild Card race, they lag behind significantly in the AL East standings.

Potential Solution: Cody Bellinger of the Chicago Cubs

The Bombers have shown interest in Chicago Cubs’ outfielder Cody Bellinger on several occasions this season. The 28-year-old, who has a favorable inclination toward the Yankees, could likely be open to a potential move. His current season record includes a .314 batting average, a .363 OBP, 14 homers, 45 RBIs, 12 stolen bases, a 17.1% strikeout rate, a 7.5% walk rate, and a 140 wRC+.

Bellinger’s profile aligns perfectly with the needs of Yankee Stadium and the short right porch, and his defensive skills make him a worthy long-term candidate for the centerfield position.

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Bellinger’s Performance and Versatility

In the outfield across 478.1 innings this year, Bellinger has recorded a .993 fielding percentage with three outs above average. His historical record shows him to be a strong outfielder, with most of his time spent in center field. Furthermore, he has also clocked over 2,000 innings at first base, providing the Bombers with the flexibility to consider a role transition down the line, given an extension.

Competition for Bellinger’s Services

The pursuit for Bellinger isn’t without competition, with the Chicago Cubs also vying for his services. The Cubs are making strides in the NL Central, trailing the Milwaukee Brewers by just six games.

Currently, Chicago is just two games short of .500 and five games behind in the Wild Card. With a recent winning streak of six out of their last seven games, they are quickly climbing up the standings, hinting that they may retain their assets for a playoff push rather than trading for assets.

Yankees’ Connection with Other Outfielders

Currently, very few teams are willing to make trades at the deadline, with the St. Louis Cardinals being the sole team openly seeking MLB-ready pitchers in return for their numerous outfielders. The Yankees have been linked with Dylan Carlson, Brendan Donovan, and Lane Thomas. However, none of these players are currently performing as well as Bellinger, who boasts a .429 batting average with a .447 OBP in July.

Crucial Days Ahead for the Yankees

The upcoming days are pivotal for the Yankees, who are hopeful of a few Chicago losses and potential trade opportunities. The situation is equally critical for the Yankees themselves, particularly after their comprehensive defeat to the subpar Mets. Facing Carlos Rodon on the mound on Wednesday night, a victory is crucial for the team.