Cody Bellinger named Yankees 'most obvious' free agency target
The New York Yankees' fanbase is awaiting updates on what the team is expected to do this offseason. After finishing 82-80 on the year and missing out on the postseason since 2016, there are discussions regarding the Yankees making changes. What is known is general manager Brian Cashman and manager Aaron Boone are returning, the reported audit of the organization and analytics department is not really going to be an audit, and the team is installing new nap rooms and dining areas in the clubhouse. Not the wholesale changes that the fans were hoping for.
One of the more obvious solutions to the Yankees' various problems is to spend in free agency. That is something the Yankees haven't done as frequently as they have done in the past, with their most recent big signings being Gerrit Cole, Aaron Judge, and Carlos Rodon. Cashman had swung and missed on some cheaper options, banking on their potential. But could the Yankees finally return to their old spending ways? If so, who would be the most obvious target?
Jon Heyman of the New York Post discussed the Yankees' offseason in a recent article and spoke about how their best strategy would be to spend in free agency. When discussing targets, Heyman says that Chicago Cubs outfielder Cody Bellinger is "the most obvious free agent to pursue."
"Anyway, the reality is their last World Series title followed monster winter expenditures for Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett," writes Heyman. "So while we applaud their willingness to listen to an outside agency (and their two megastars), their proven route to their usual postseason spot remains free agency.
"To that end, the most obvious free agent to pursue remains Cody Bellinger, in a market short of obvious offensive stars. Bellinger should be top-10 MVP for a third time (he won it with the Dodgers), he’s an elite, versatile defender and left-handed."
Heyman isn't lying, as the Yankees desperately need help in the outfield. Cashman neglected to bring in a free agent to start in left field, instead trusting cheap options on the outside ad those inside the organization, highlighted by 10 players starting in the position last year. There's also a void in center field, as Harrison Bader was waived one year after he was acquired by the Yankees in a deal with the St. Louis Cardinals for pitcher Jordan Montgomery.
Bellinger signed a one-year deal with the Cubs last winter, and proved that he could still play at an MVP-caliber level as he did early on in his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Now, he has the chance to cash in this offseason.
Through 130 games, Bellinger recorded a .307 batting average, a .356 on-base percentage, a .525 slugging percentage, 26 home runs, 95 runs, 97 RBI, 153 hits, 87 strikeouts, and 40 walks in 499 at-bats.
The Yankees will likely have to bid a lot of money to acquire Bellinger, as he is the top outfielder option available this offseason. The question remains if the team will actually do everything in their power (i.e. spend the money) to acquire the former 2019 NL MVP.