Yankees linked to switch-hitting Cardinals outfielder

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Washington Nationals, dylan carlson, yankees
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Following a disappointing loss to the Los Angeles Angels, the New York Yankees are now trailing by nine games in the American League East. Despite holding a substantial lead over the Boston Red Sox just weeks ago, the Yankees are floundering, gradually losing their grip as each day passes when they need to be staging a resurgence.

The Impact of Aaron Judge’s Absence on Yankees

The reality of the matter is that without Aaron Judge, the Yankees struggle even against teams that aren’t considered “good.” A noticeable lack of confidence and synergy is affecting the team’s performance.

However, with the deadline approaching, the Yankees are poised to be buyers. The aim is to bolster the roster and salvage what remains of their season. Despite the argument that they should act as sellers and prepare for 2024, the old guard still hints at a potential playoff run.

Yankees’ general manager Brian Cashman, never one to back down without a fight, is reportedly interested in Cardinal’s switch-hitting outfielder Dylan Carlson.

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Yankees linked to switch-hitting Cardinals outfielder

As Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports, the Cardinals have announced that Tyler O’Neill will occupy left field once he returns from the injured list, signaling that a trade involving Carlson could be imminent for a team already indicating they’ll be selling at the deadline.

Unless the Yankees manage a blockbuster trade for a player like Shohei Ohtani or Juan Soto to overhaul their offense during Judge’s recovery, a player like Carlson might not make a significant difference. However, at 24, Carlson could serve as a long-term outfield starter.

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs, dylan carlson, yankees
May 8, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; St. Louis Cardinals center fielder Dylan Carlson (3) hits an RBI-single against the Chicago Cubs during the second inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Carlson’s stats this season include a .243 batting average, a .350 OBP, five home runs, 21 RBIs, and a 107 wRC+ across 58 games. His strikeout rate is 19.7% and his walk rate is 10.8%.

Back in 2021, Carlson had hit 18 home runs with the Cardinals, and although his slugging metrics have dipped slightly, his on-base percentage has increased. If the Yankees could help him regain his power-hitting form, he might offer even more value.

Carlson’s current metrics, such as a 37.3% hard-hit rate, a 7.5% battle rate, an average exit velocity of 89.4, and a 12.5° launch angle, suggest he should be hitting more home runs if he can elevate his fly ball rate, which presently stands at 34.6%.

While Carlson won’t transform the Yankees into immediate contenders, he is a promising long-term investment and offers more than just temporary outfield support for 2023.

Assessing Carlson’s Defensive Capabilities

In the field, Carlson has clocked 430 innings this year, playing across the outfield. He boasts one defensive run saved, one out above average, and a .991 fielding percentage. While his fielding is reliable, his switch-hitting could add much-needed balance to a Yankee offense that occasionally lacks it.

The big question is what the Yankees would need to surrender for Carlson?

Possible Trade Options: Clarke Schmidt

St. Louis might demand a pitcher like Clarke Schmidt, who, at 27, has shown promising growth this season. Boasting a 4.31 ERA, 9.10 per nine, a 71.8% left-on-base rate, and a 43.4% ground ball rate across 94 innings, Schmidt has become a valuable asset.

The Yankees might prefer to keep him, which suggests a deal involving prospects for Carlson might be more palatable. At this critical juncture, the Yankees can’t afford to lose impact players, be it from the pitching rotation or offense.