Yankees keeping tabs on Cardinals controllable outfielder as deadline approaches

mlb: st. louis cardinals at washington nationals, dylan carlson, yankees
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

As the trade deadline looms, barely 1.5 hours away, the New York Yankees have yet to secure any deals. This lack of movement comes despite the active roster improvement efforts from their direct competitors.

Conversely, their neighbors, the New York Mets, are actively trading high-profile players in an effort to acquire prospects and prepare for their future. This tactic could be a potential consideration for the Yankees.

A Strategic Move for Brian Cashman

Brian Cashman, the general manager of the Yankees, only has a limited number of valuable, controllable assets with substantial production this season that could potentially appeal to rival teams. Therefore, a smart strategy might involve trading away short-term players, which at this juncture could be a beneficial move.

Although the front office is still actively seeking advantageous deals, they have notably expressed interest in one particular St. Louis Cardinals outfielder: Dylan Carlson.

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Potential Trade: Dylan Carlson

It’s often said, “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire,” and the association between Carlson and the Yankees has been increasingly prominent over recent weeks. He is seen as a potential solution to their left-field position.

Carlson, a youthful 24-year-old player, remains under contract until the conclusion of the 2027 season. This situation essentially offers the Yankees an everyday starter in the outfield with promising potential for the next three years before he reaches free agency.

A Look at Carlson’s Performance

As a versatile switch-hitter and former first-round draft pick, Carlson boasts a .230 batting average, a .328 on-base percentage (OBP) and has scored five home runs and 24 RBIs. Despite a dip in his stats this year, he has previously demonstrated strong performance. For instance, in 2021, he achieved a .266 batting average, a .343 OBP, 18 home runs, and 65 RBIs, along with a 9.2% walk rate and a 113 wRC+.

Furthermore, Carlson brings defensive prowess to the field. Having played close to 3,000 innings in the outfield, he has demonstrated his flexibility with 1,361 innings in right field, 1,456.2 in center, and 160.2 in left field. This multi-positional ability, combined with his track record of seven defensive runs saved and two outs above average, underscores his value.

Considerations for the Yankees

However, a potential trade for Carlson might require the Yankees to let go of Clarke Schmidt, as the Cardinals are reportedly seeking controllable, MLB-ready pitching. Schmidt, now 27, has a 4.39 ERA, a 71.8% left-on-base rate, and a 42.9% ground-ball rate over 104.2 innings.

In the last two months, Schmidt’s performance has notably improved, boosting his trade value. Nevertheless, trading a promising young pitcher like Schmidt for an outfielder like Carlson, whose production has recently declined, might raise questions about the fairness of the deal.