Yankees could target ‘perfect fit’ Rockies corner infielder at trade deadline

MLB: Colorado Rockies at San Francisco Giants, Ryan McMahon, yankees
Credit: Robert Edwards-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees have everything going right for them right now. Entering Tuesday, they have the best record in baseball at 42-19 behind the stellar play of Aaron Judge and Juan Soto, as well as their pitching staff.

That being said, this team is not flawless. Their most notable holes to fill at the trade deadline come at the corner infield positions and the bullpen. The Yankees current group of third basemen in Oswaldo Cabrera, DJ LeMahieu and Jon Berti have a combined wRC+ of 86, the eighth-worst mark in MLB among that position group.

ESPN’s Jeff Passan considers Ryan McMahon a ‘perfect fit’ for the Yankees

ESPN’s Jeff Passan provided a solution in his early trade deadline preview on Tuesday and suggested that Colorado Rockies’ slugger Ryan McMahon could be the Yankees’ biggest target this summer.

“When you’ve got Aaron Judge and Juan Soto, what more do you need? Well, another high-octane bullpen arm would be nice. Maybe a corner-infield bat? (McMahon would be a perfect fit, actually). Otherwise, the Yankees look awfully good, and that’s before they get the equivalent of a mega trade: the return of reigning AL Cy Young winner Gerrit Cole,” Passan wrote.

Passan listed the struggling Rockies in the “unloaders” category, implying that they are likely to conduct a fire-sale of their most prestigious talent this summer. However, Passan also noted that such moves are not a guarantee, as Colorado is notorious for typically staying pat at the deadline, regardless of their season position.

“Nobody does the deadline quite like the Rockies, who are experts in acting like it doesn’t exist. They were the only team in 2022 not to make a trade. Last year they made five moves — and received only pitchers in return (one of whom, reliever, Victor Vodnik, was a great find). This year, Colorado has an opportunity to cash in on infielder Ryan McMahon… but owner Dick Monfort is particularly fond of him and doesn’t want to deal him,” Passan wrote.

Ryan McMahon’s value is at an all-time high

Now, of course, there is still plenty of time before the August 1 trade deadline, so Monfort’s stance on the availability of his star third baseman can change between now and then. The Rockies don’t have to trade him now, as he is in the third year of a six-year/$70 million deal, and while there is an opt-out after the fourth year, it only kicks in if he finishes top five in MVP voting in the first three years, which is not likely. However, his value is currently the highest it’s ever been, as he is on track to be the Rockies’ lone all-star selection this season.

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Colorado Rockies
Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

McMahon, 29, currently has career-highs in batting average (.284), OPS (.841), and OPS+ (131). He also leads the team in home runs with 10 on the season, and his 125 wRC+ also leads the Rockies this year. His left-handed power would play very well at Yankee Stadium with the short porch in right field and would give them another big bopper to hit in the heart of a Yankees lineup that already leads MLB in home runs.

McMahon also provides elite defense at the hot corner. Last season, he had 17 defensive runs saved (DRS), which was second amongst third basemen and seventh in all of MLB. Since 2020, McMahon has the fourth-most DRS in baseball, with 45, and has the third-highest outs above average (OAA) among third basemen in that same span, with 29.

The bottom line is that McMahon would be a clear upgrade over the options the Yankees currently have at third base, and they wouldn’t lose the strong defensive play they have shown this year despite the lack of offense from the group. As June passes and the season creeps into July, be on the lookout for GM Brian Cashman to potentially pursue the coveted Rockies infielder.

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