Since Aaron Judge went down with an injury against the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 3, the New York Yankees have a huge need for an outfielder. The problem is, there are not a lot of outfielders out there to be acquired.
The trade deadline is inching closer on August 1, several teams are in the tough spot of figuring out whether or not they will be a buyer or a seller. One of those teams is the Chicago Cubs and right now, things are trending toward them being a seller. At 41-46, they have a lot of ground to make up to catch the Cincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Central and they are several teams grouped with them for an NL Wild Card spot.
They began their final series before the All-Star Break at Yankee Stadium Friday night and if you’re the Yankees, it could not have come at a more perfect time, despite a 3-0 loss.
Cubs have an outfielder that would fit perfectly with the Yankees.
Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman has been filling the outfielder need with the likes of Jake Bauers, Billy McKinney, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, and most recently Franchy Cordero. Harrison Bader is back from his injury and there are times that manager Aaron Boone has used Giancarlo Stanton in right field. Prior to Friday night’s games, the Yankees announced that Bauers was going on the 10-day IL, creating another hole that was filled by Cordero.
McKinney, Bauers, and Cordero have all had their moments this season in the first half, but in reality, they are going to move the need in the second half to help with a playoff push. Judge’s absence has been big for New York and there is no timetable as to when, if ever, they get him back this season. This is where Cubs’ outfielder Cody Bellinger comes in.
Bellinger, who played center field in the opening game of the series, signed a one-year, $17.5 million free-agent contract over the winter and it’s somewhat of a weird deal. He is paid $12.5 million at the start of the season, followed by either a $25 million deal for 2024 or an additional $5 million worth of buyout money at the end of the year.
Regardless of the contract, it’s the Yankees and money should not matter. Bellinger is a left-handed bat that is built for the short porch at Yankees Stadium and New York got an up-close look of what could be Friday night when he launched a Carlos Rodon offering in the third inning into the second deck in right field. He finished 2-for-3 in the game with two runs scored and one RBI.
On top of his bat, his defense is still good and he would fill two needs the Yankees have, a left-handed bat that would benefit from the short porch at Yankees Stadium and a good outfielder defensively.
The Yankees are going to add at the deadline, that’s almost certain, unless they fall off big time over the next couple of weeks after the All-Star Break. Cashman has a chance to strike well ahead of the deadline with one phone call to Cubs GM Carter Hawkins.