Yankees linked to 2 above-average bats ahead of the trade deadline

MLB: Colorado Rockies at San Francisco Giants, randal grichuk, yankees
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With the trade deadline approaching in just two weeks and the New York Yankees grappling with their current state, the acquisition of an above-average offensive bat would be beneficial. General manager Brian Cashman is reportedly scouting an everyday starting left-fielder, and a number of potential candidates have already been associated with the Yankees.

Cody Bellinger: High-Potential Outfielder for the Yankees

Prominently, the Bombers have been linked with 28-year-old outfielder Cody Bellinger, presently playing for the Chicago Cubs. Bellinger is on a one-year contract, valued at $17.5 million, with a 2024 mutual option. His current season statistics show a batting average of .301 with an OBP of .358, including 12 home runs, 35 RBIs, and 11 stolen bases.

Furthermore, his 17.5% strikeout rate, 8.2% walk rate, and 135 wRC+ signal strong performance. His 2.4 WAR demonstrates that he could be the Yankees’ second-best outfielder by a considerable measure.

Bellinger’s July performance is particularly impressive, hitting .444 with a .480 OBP, 1.302 OPS, and five homers, significantly boosting his trade value. Given the Cubs’ current position in the NL Central, it is probable they will be looking to sell.

MLB: Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals, yankees, cody bellinger
Jun 24, 2023; London, GBR, ENG; Chicago Cubs center fielder Cody Bellinger (24) runs out a single in the fifth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals in the fifth inning of the London series at London Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports

Bellinger aligns perfectly with the Yankees and the right porch of Yankee Stadium. His defensive prowess is also noteworthy, with 444.1 innings in the outfield this season, a .993 fielding percentage, and four outs above average. Primarily a center fielder, Bellinger’s flexibility to adapt to left field might be useful for the Yankees, especially until Aaron Judge returns.

Bellinger’s contract, being a half-year rental with a mutual option likely leading to a long-term extension, suggests Cashman wouldn’t need to offer a significant trade package, although the Cubs are unlikely to let him go without a fair return.

Randal Grichuk: Affordable Alternative

The Yankees are also considering Randal Grichuk, a possibility that emerged after their loss to the Colorado Rockies. Grichuk, 31, is due to enter free agency in 2024. His current season statistics include a .300 average with a .364 OBP, five homers, 22 RBIs, a 20.9% strikeout rate, a 7.6% walk rate, and 112 wRC+. He represents a more affordable option for the Yankees.

Despite tallying only 0.4 WAR due to his subpar defensive skills, Grichuk remains a proficient hitter that would enhance the Yankees’ batting lineup. There are considerations regarding his enhanced performance at the hitter-friendly Coors Field in Colorado and potential downturn in the Bronx.

Defensively, Grichuk has played 395 innings in the outfield this year, with a .980 fielding percentage and -6 defensive runs saved. His offensive capabilities, however, may compensate for his defensive shortcomings, providing the hitting boost the Yankees currently require.

Grichuk’s lower cost due to his imminent free agency status makes him a tempting option for Cashman, especially if cost-cutting is on the agenda. Other options in the market warrant consideration, but the immediate offensive upgrade Bellinger and Grichuk offer makes them top contenders, barring any blockbuster possibilities.

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