The New York Yankees are looking for potential alternatives to bring in a starting-caliber outfielder or two. They are examining free agency and the trade market, trying to come up with a way to acquire talented players to help kickstart their offense in 2024.
One of those potential options is St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Dylan Carlson. He offers a switch-hitting profile, a good glove, and, above all things, some untapped potential under the right guidance.
Back in 2019, Carlson had established himself as one of the top prospects in MLB by putting a 142 wRC+ in Double-A and a 161 mark in Triple-A, with 26 home runs and 20 stolen bases between the two levels.
He made his MLB debut in 2020 and had a disappointing 66 wRC+ in a 35-game sample (119 plate appearances) during his age-21 season. His best year was definitely 2021 when he hit .266/.343/.437 with 18 home runs and a 111 wRC+.
After being a league-average hitter in 2022 (99 wRC+) and struggling to the tune of an 84 wRC+ this past season, the Cardinals are open to trading Carlson, and the Yankees should at least consider making a move.
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Carlson could make sense for the Yankees
Carlson underwent season-ending ankle surgery in September but should be ready to roll by the time spring training comes. He remains young, at 25 years old, can cover center field, and boasts a high ceiling even if he is not all that likely to reach it.
Frankly, the Yankees could be happy if he can regain his 2021 form: an above-average hitter capable of manning center, offering some power and athleticism.
St. Louis, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, has received interest for Carlson. He reported that the Toronto Blue Jays have asked about him. It makes sense for them to move some of the outfielders they have on the roster, as they have a logjam.
The Yankees might have the pitching assets the Cardinals would want in exchange for Carlson, who has three arbitration seasons left until he becomes a free agent. If could be a worthwhile gamble for New York.