Yankees trade targets, from dream superstars to realistic quality upgrades
The New York Yankees are already putting out probes to see what’s available in the outfield market. Now that it’s July, the hot stove will really start to heat up as the trade deadline approaches.
The Yankees are expected to be buyers by the deadline. Baseball’s best team sees its best chance to win a World Series in a very long time. The first word is that Brian Cashman will try to work out any issues they have to get the best team on the field come October.
A massive free end the team has is in the outfield. Aaron Judge was arguably the best baseball player in 2022 and Giancarlo Stanton had a very good year. However, Judge is just one man and Stanton spends the majority of his time as a DH.
Other Yankees outfielders are Aaron Hicks and Joey Gallo. New York has seen very little production from either man this year. Hicks had a huge moment against the Astros in his three-point bombshell, but that doesn’t take away from his poor play all season.
Hicks is batting in the low 200s with a slugging percentage below 300. Now he’s walking to a decent clip that led to a .338 OBP, but that’s still not the production the Yankees wanted.
The Yankees’ Biggest Problem
While Hicks has been bad, he’s not the worst. Worse is the black hole in formation known as Joey Gallo. Gallo was one of the Yankees’ biggest acquisitions at deadline last year when New York brought him in from Texas.
However, he was abysmal the whole time he was with the team. This year, Gallo is having the worst year of his career and the boos are getting louder and louder. You can’t get worse drummers than Joey Gallo at this point. The man beats .165 with an OBP of .277.
Gallo has always been known for his scoring power, but in his tenure with the Yankees he hit just 22 homers in 118 games. This year, he is on a pace of 162 games for 23 home runs and 45 RBIs. He’s definitely not the guy the Yankees thought they had.
At this point, I’m convinced Gallo is a lost cause and the first word is that New York is ready to pull the plug. No matter how they do it, I don’t think Joey Gallo will make the team when they take the field in the playoffs.
Brian Cashman is already evaluating which outfielders will be available as the deadline approaches. There are two distinct tiers for the guys the Yankees will be looking at. There are the dream superstars who are unlikely and there are also a few players who could very well end up in New York.
Pipe Dream Stars
The first pipe dream star New York would like to add is Juan Soto of the Washington Nationals. I mean who wouldn’t want Juan Soto on their team? Soto isn’t having the best year for the Nationals, but I like the most not putting a ton of stock there.
The 23-year-old superstar is batting just .226 with 15 home runs and 33 RBIs. However, he is still one of the best batters in the game and he has a .384 OBP. His left swing would play perfectly for the Yankees at the stadium.
Soto would do a lot for New York. Along with bringing his supernatural talent to the Bronx, he would also buy the Yankees some insurance. New York has a big post-season deal coming up with Aaron Judge.
If New York were to acquire Juan Soto, it would protect them in the event that Judge finds a great contract from another team. Of course, the dream would be to pair them up long term, but if the Yankees lose Aaron Judge, Juan Soto is as good as a replacement as they come.
Washington kept trying to extend it for record dollars, but Soto stood firm saying no. The Nationals have made it clear they have no intention of trading, but his value will never go higher and if he continues to make it clear that he’s not signing long-term, maybe he’s becomes available.
Want a guy who ticks all the Yankees boxes? Look no further than Pittsburgh’s Bryan Reynolds. Switch hitting Reynolds is an MVP talent type that will give you quality bats, hit for average, and play wherever you need them in the outfield. New York is witness to it in this series.
Reynolds, like Soto, is playing for an abyssal side that would love to extend him long term. However, Reynolds has shown no interest in signing with the Pirates long-term so far, much like Soto hasn’t with the Nationals.
Despite this, the 14 Under 500 Pirates have signaled that they have no plans to trade Reynolds. They believe they can compete sooner rather than later with their young core of maturing players. However, would they be better off keeping Reynolds or adding even more young talent/
It would take a hit from the Yankees, but Brian Cashman would pull the trigger here if the deal could happen. Unfortunately, like with Soto, I just don’t see that happening.
Kansas City’s Andrew Benintendi is likely the Yankees’ top target at the trade deadline for outfield assist. Benintendi is someone New York knows very well after all his years with the Red Sox.
The Royals outfielder is having a terrific season in his walking year. Benintendi is expected to be a free agent after the season and he’s doing the exact opposite of what Joey Gallo is doing right now.
Benintendi plays terrific defense and he bats .313 with an OBP of .381. He plays in a ballpark and with his swing you can imagine his power numbers would go up in the second half. Benintendi has only hit three home runs so far.
However, he would give the Yankees what they need and is someone who will consistently put the bat on the ball. He would maintain balance on the left side and he would not be demoted defensively off his throwing arm.
There is going to be a lot of competition because Benintendi is going to be in short supply. The Royals will be waiting for the best deal and New York might not pull the trigger if the costs get too high from a prospect’s perspective.
The Yankees and Cubs have made a lot of trades together in the past. Hell, last year they made a deadline deal for Anthony Rizzo. One of Rizzo’s closest friends and former teammates may also be heading to the Bronx at this year’s deadline.
Ian Happ is having a very good year and will come with an additional year of control. That extra year would increase the cost, but maybe if the deal is good, the Yankees could see a big upside.
Happ bats .283 while having an OBP of .382. He hit eight homers and drove in 38 runs. Happ will also remind fans of DJ LeMahieu and Marwin Gonzalez of his ability to play all over the court.
This year he has been exclusively in the outfield, however, throughout his career he has played at all inside positions aside from shortstop and receiver. He’s a switch hitter, so like Benintendi, he wouldn’t hurt the balance of the lineup.
If Happ is available, I expect the Yankees to be the focus of discussion. Before Jose Trevino started having an All Star-caliber season, I wondered if the Yanks would make a huge trade by getting Willson Contreras and Happ. However, the focus will be on Happ if a deal with Chicago materializes.