Yankees rumors: Trade with Cubs could solve outfield, offensive woes

Cody Bellinger, Chicago Cubs (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
Cody Bellinger, Chicago Cubs (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) /

The New York Yankees could dial up the Chicago Cubs to fix their problems in the outfield and in the batter’s box. 

The New York Yankees are currently 45-36, which only gets you third place (with a half-game lead on the fourth-place Blue Jays) in the cutthroat AL East. As always, the Yankees have a ton of talent on paper, but injuries and inconsistency have ravaged the lineup.

As Aaron Boone and company search for answers, the Aug. 1 trade deadline looms large on the horizon. Could the Yankees swing a trade to solve some of their issues?

The outfield has been a significant point of weakness for New York all season. Giancarlo Stanton missed time to start the year, and even he’s only a part-time outfielder at best. Now, Aaron Judge continues to miss time without a clear timetable for his return.

Chris Kirschner of The Athletic proposed one trade that could immediately plug that hole in New York’s lineup.

Proposed Yankees-Cubs trade sends Cody Bellinger to New York

The knee-jerk excitement of Yankee fans seeing Bellinger’s name will inevitably be dulled by the ensuing perusal of Baseball Reference. Bellinger won the MVP award with the Dodgers in 2019, but he has since seen his numbers plummet.

Bellinger missed large chunks of the 2020 and 2021 seasons to injuries. He returned to a full workload last season (144 games played), but he only slashed .210/.265/.389 at the plate and hit 19 home runs. The MVP Bellinger of yesteryear was nowhere to be found.

His numbers have been much better across the board with the Cubs in 2023. He’s slashing .261/.325/.450 with seven homers and 22 RBI’s in 48 games. He’s a lefty, which the Yankees don’t have enough of, and he’s a tremendous glove in the outfield. Too many of the New York outfielders can’t consistently field their position.

Bellinger would give the Yankees a much-needed boon at a position of need. What might give Yankee fans pause here is the price.

Clayton Beeter and Will Warren are quality pitching prospects who could be in the majors sooner than later. Estevan Florial is known for his defense in centerfield and he’s batting .294 with a .987 OPS and 20 home runs in Triple-A Scranton. On the surface, he’s the exact kind of young player New York could use to bandage the Judge wound, but he was assigned to Triple-A earlier in the year for a reason. The Yankees clearly lack faith in his offense translating to the majors.

New York has never been afraid to spend big. Bellinger is potentially on the last year of his contract, but the Yankees can benefit immensely from his presence in the short term while possessing the financial liquidity to re-sign him next winter.

The Yankees are fighting tooth and nail for a wild card spot. The Cubs are only 5.0 games back of first-place Milwaukee, but they’re also five games below .500 on the season. Things feel a little bit more dire in Chicago, which could prompt the Cubs to sacrifice a declining Bellinger for a nice haul of prospects to pave the way forward.

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