If there’s one thing the Yankees don’t want to do more than they already have to, it’s deal with the Houston Astros. After all, they’ve been eliminated from the postseason by them four times since 2015. Last October was especially brutal, as New York got swept right out of the ALCS.
But as we continue approaching MLB’s trade deadline, general manager Brian Cashman might have to deal with Houston again. This time, it could be for a needed roster boost in the outfield. Here’s what Bob Nightengale of USA Today said about the Astros’ current trade-deadline targets:
The Houston Astros have checked in with the Chicago Cubs about starter Marcus Stroman and center fielder Cody Bellinger, each who are expected to be available.
A large portion of Yankees Twitter is focused on acquiring Juan Soto if the San Diego Padres continue falling out of contention. Or Shohei Ohtani from the Angels. While either of those would be amazing to pull off, it’s still highly unlikely. Bellinger is much more within the range of possibilities for the Bombers. We’ve already talked about him three times this month (here, here, and here).
New York has been in desperate need of outfield help since the offseason. That need has only intensified with Giancarlo Stanton, Harrison Bader, and Aaron Judge all spending a significant amount of time on the injured list at various points this season.
It takes time for the trade market to develop. Plus, teams planning to sell won’t jump the gun if they can create competition between interested suitors. This is not like the Royals finding a fit for Aroldis Chapman in Texas early on. One can imagine the Cubs will hold onto their trade chips — including a top outfield bat like Bellinger — as long as they can to get the best return possible.
After a couple of horrific years at the plate with the Dodgers, Belli has bounced back in the Windy City. He’s hitting .301/.358/.524 with 12 home runs, 35 RBI, 48 runs scored, and 11 steals in 257 plate appearances. His 135 wRC+ and 2.4 fWAR are already his best single-season marks since winning the 2019 NL MVP Award.
Those numbers would look mighty nice in the middle of the Yankees’ lineup. Especially when Judge returns, and especially while playing at Yankee Stadium. But then again, Bellinger would be a fit for most contenders in need of outfield help. We’ll see how his market develops, and if the Astros find a way to beat the Yankees again. Or, maybe…this is an opportunity for Brian Cashman to rise to the occasion.