Looking ahead at potential trade targets for the New York Yankees

juan soto, yankees, washington nationals

While the New York Yankees fell to the Baltimore Orioles yesterday, they still hold MLB’s best record at 28-10. I think it’s safe to say that the Yanks have surpassed all expectations through the first 38 games of the season.

While many expected the Yankees to be good this year, I don’t think anyone was expecting them to perform at this level. I sure as hell wasn’t expecting it. For years, New York’s management has preached a message of hopium to the fans.

Fans have been told how good the team could be if everyone was clicking. The problem is that we’ve very rarely seen the Yankees firing on all cylinders. Well, this year we have. Starting pitching, bullpen, offense, defense, you name it.

The Yankees look like legit World Series contenders and they definitely appear to be the favorites in the American League. As we near the end of May, it’s time to start thinking about the Hot Stove again. Before you know it, the trade deadline will be here.

Will the Yankees be active at the deadline this year? Are they going to make a move that will push them over the top? Who are some of their targets? Let’s take a look at a few names that you could see tied to New York at the deadline.

Yankees Potential Targets

Willson Contreras

One of the names to really watch as the deadline approaches is Willson Contreras. The backstop for the Cubs is likely going to be dealt at the deadline considering he’s in his walk year and the Cubs are not a team that is contending this year.

The All Star catcher is off to a solid start batting .268 with five home runs and 14 RBIs. He’s also played really well behind the plate and has a WAR of 1.4 through the start of the season. The Yankees and Cubs have been key trading partners in the past.

New York sent Aroldis Chapman to Chicago for Gleyber Torres in a move that benefited both clubs. Last year we saw the Yankees acquire Anthony Rizzo from Chicago for a haul of prospects. I wouldn’t be shocked to hear a rumor tying Contreras to New York.

Jose Trevino and Kyle Higashioka have provided very minimal offense thus far. Trevino has the better batting average of the two and he’s batting .204. Contreras would be a massive upgrade offensively without giving much up on the defensive end.

Andrew Benintendi

A blast from the past, how about the Yankees calling up the Royals regarding Andrew Benintendi. The former Red Sox outfielder is having a great season thus far for Kansas City. He’s playing solid defense in left field while batting .302.

It’s clear that the Yankees have some issues in the outfield right now. There aren’t any issues with Aaron Judge or Giancarlo Stanton, but there are major issues with Joey Gallo and especially Aaron Hicks. Trading for Benintendi could sure things up in the outfield.

Since getting traded to New York, Gallo is batting well under 2o0 and while he’s shown flashes of his great power, it hasn’t translated like many thought it would. Some say that Gallo just isn’t meant for New York. Perhaps a change of scenery would be beneficial for him as he’s in his walk year.

Aaron Hicks has been the worst player on the team for the Yankees this year. Personally, I don’t think it’s close. I would literally accept a trade for a bag of balls if it meant getting Hicks off the team.

One of these struggling outfielders might benefit from going to a smaller market in KC. Tie one of them with a decent prospect and you can bring back Benintendi. You’d still have four outfielders regardless of which one you gave up.

Juan Soto

Want a bigger stretch than Benintendi, alright I’m going in. How about the Yankees making a megasplash and trading for Juan Soto. Sounds crazy, but it’s not as crazy as you might think when you read it.

The Washington Nationals know that they aren’t going to sign Soto long-term. Soto is one of the best players in the game and it’s very clear that Soto is planning on leaving the Nats once his service time with them is up.

His value will never be higher than it is right now. The Nationals would demand the farm, and for Soto you absolutely give it up. Imagine the Yankees having Aaron Judge, Juan Soto, and Giancarlo Stanton going into the postseason.

Sounds too good to be true. Speaking of Aaron Judge, acquiring Juan Soto would provide the Yankees with Aaron Judge insurance. We all know that New York wants to sign Aaron Judge long-term. We also all know that Aaron Judge wants to stay with the Yankees.

However, the two sides are far apart on a deal. If New York were to acquire Juan Soto, it would allow them to hold their ground a bit more with Judge. Could acquiring Soto push Judge out the door? It’s possible especially if a team like the Giants blows Judge out of the water with an offer.

That being said, if the Yankees end up losing Judge, I’d rather them lose Judge knowing they have Juan Soto moving forward. It would take all the best pieces, but if Washington calls, the Yanks should be all over it.

Other Pieces

Don’t be surprise to see the Yankees look at relief pitching. While the bullpen has been good overall, there have been some shakey spots. Chad Green left yesterday’s game with an injury and Aroldis Chapman has been far from sharp recently.

Zack Britton is injured and the other arms are really getting utilized a lot. Look for Cashman to make another Clay Holmes-type of acquisition at some point. Who will it be? No idea, but I expect them to add a bullpen piece for the stretch run.

What do you guys think? Who do you want the Yankees to go after? Sound off in the comments!

Are the New York Yankees a player for Wilson Contreras?

It is no secret that there are issues with the New York Yankees at the catchers position. Gary Sanchez was just interviewed by ESPN yesterday where he discussed that he was confused by being benched for the playoffs.

A response that seemed to trigger most people in the Yankees fanbase. The issue is not that complicated, Gary Sanchez was benched because he was awful. He was atrocious, he was basically every negative adjective you can think of last year.

Gary Sanchez is not a defense first catcher. His biggest asset is his ability to swing the bat. Well, going back to 2018 for the Yankees, Sanchez is hitting under 200 combined over the last few seasons.

Yes, I know people will talk about his injuries and the COVID season of 2020. Nevertheless, Gary Sanchez has been awful for the Yankees. Combine that with the fact that he’s terrible behind the plate and you don’t have much going for you.

With Sanchez, the questions have never been about his talent. Frankly, his raw talent is the only reason the Yankees refuse to get rid of him. However, there is a catcher available that might make them strongly consider it.

The Yankees and Cubs to make another deal?

It has been reported all offseason that the Yankees have been looking into the catching market. Of course, publicly they say they are behind Gary Sanchez, however, behind closed doors they’ve been looking into replacement options.

A very interesting option just hit the trade market. USA Today and MLB Trade Rumors reported today that the Chicago Cubs are actively shopping All-Star catcher, Wilson Contreras. The Cubs are in the middle of a fire sale after non-tendering Schwarber and trading Yu Darvish.

The Yankees and the Cubs have a history of doing deals. The Cubs can thank the Yankees for Aroldis Chapman’s contributions to their WS victory and the bombers can thank the Cubs for Gleyber Torres.

Make no mistake about it, Contreras is an upgrade from Gary Sanchez for the Yankees. Both players are actually in the exact same spot in terms of their control, but Contreras is much more proven as an overall catcher.

If the Yankees were to pull off a deal for Contreras, they could either send Sanchez back to Chicago or put him in a different trade. However, acquiring Contreras would allow the Yankees to finally let go of Sanchez without thinking twice.

Now, there is no word on the Yanks potential interest in Contreras. All I can tell you is that the bombers have been catcher shopping and they are not sold on Sanchez. If a deal can materialize with Chicago, don’t be shocked to see the Yankees involved.

Could the New York Yankees and Cubs make a big deal this offseason?

New York Yankees, Yankees, Brian Cashman

Many in baseball have been anxious about this unique offseason. There are so many things up in the air and the New York Yankees have been quiet so far which has fans guessing on what the bombers are doing at the moment.

From all indications, the Yankees are focused on resigning DJ LeMahieu. I was tipped off recently that the two sides were progressing towards a reunion, however, it’s still fluid with plenty of other bidders in the race.

The Yankees view DJ LeMahieu as the key to their offseason. If they resign LeMahieu, they have a general idea on where they want to go. You also have to imagine that they have a backup plan if they can’t bring him back.

There have been a lot of rumors out there regarding the Yankees and their interest on the trade market. One of the names that has been thrown around is the Indians’ All-Star shortstop, Francisco Lindor. 

There has been talked that the team has kicked the tires on a few other fronts. However, there’s one team that I’m thinking of that hasn’t been mentioned a ton with the Yankees as of yet. That team is the Chicago Cubs.

Cubs looking to sell?

The Cubs are going through a transition at the moment. Theo Epstein just stepped down and Jed Hoyer has taken over the team. There has also been talk that the Cubs are going to look to potentially be sellers this offseason.

They have a number of pieces to potentially trade including: Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Wilson Contreras, Kyle Hendricks, Anthony Rizzo, and Kyle Schwarber. At this point, Bryant and Schwarber seem to be the most likely to move, although all could be on the table.

The Yankees and the Cubs have history when it comes to big deals. The Yankees traded away Aroldis Chapman a few years ago to the Cubs which netted them Gleyber Torres. One of the better moves Cashman has made during his time as GM in my opinion.

Who could the Yankees target?

If the Yankees are interested, who should they call about? To me, the two most obvious choices would be Kyle Hendricks and Wilson Contreras. Hendricks is one of the more reliable starters in the NL while Contreras is one of the best catchers in baseball.

Both of those spots are obvious areas of weakness for the Yankees currently. We’ve seen and heard about the Yankees current dilemma with Gary Sanchez. They are still trying to decide what to do with him at the moment.

Another option could be Javier Baez. The former NL MVP runner-up is scheduled to become a free agent after next season just like Lindor. If the Yankees don’t land LeMahieu, perhaps they could work out a deal for Baez as their SS for the future.

There are a lot of possibilities and again, a lot will be driven by what happens with DJ LeMahieu. There’s no real smoke between the clubs right now, but don’t be shocked if you hear about the Yankees and Cubs chatting at some point this offseason.