Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

Both the Yankees and Mets are interested in Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Manuel Margot, per multiple sources. Joel Sherman of the Post added that both New York teams are among five interested in him.

Margot has spent the last four years with the Rays and hit a mild .264 with just four home runs and a 93 wRC+. He appeared in 99 games last season while dealing with elbow injuries, and has largely been a platoon outfielder for the last two years.

The Yankees, meanwhile, need two outfielders to slot alongside Aaron Judge while Jasson Dominguez recovers from Tommy John surgery. The Mets don’t have clear holes in their outfield, but still need depth and an everyday man in left. Jeff McNeil is just too valuable as an infielder/super utility player.

The question, rather, is why Manuel Margot? He isn’t an impact bat and has never registered an OPS above .721. And worse yet, that was with the Padres in 2017, Margot’s second MLB season. He isn’t a particularly great fielder either, though he has plus range and an above average throwing arm.

But the sad truth is that Margot plays for the Rays and is due $10 million on an expiring contract. This makes him trade bait, and here we are.

That said, it’s hard to imagine Manuel Margot fitting on either team. On the Mets, he’s a depth bat who’ll either boom or bust in that role. The Yankees, however, might lean on him for a fair number of games. Particularly if Everson Pereira and Estevan Florial continue to struggle, or the Yankees don’t manage to trade for Juan Soto.

It doesn’t matter how much the Yankees need outfielders because Margot isn’t one of them. How would Brian Cashman defend the move? Margot’s bat has upside because Yankee Stadium is small?

The Yankees need to bite the bullet and up their search to outfield bats who can actually produce. Be it Soto or Cody Bellinger, the team needs something more than a glorified placeholder like Manuel Margot.

Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.