The Yankees have the best record in baseball, and they’ve shown no signs of slowing down, but the Aug. 2 trade deadline is quickly approaching, and the Bronx Bombers could look to improve their stellar roster even more — particularly filling a gaping hole in left field, as Joey Gallo has continued to struggle.
At 58–22, the Pinstripes are 5.5 games ahead of the Houston Astros atop the MLB standings, and they boast a whopping 13-game lead in the AL East.
Fan-favorite Aaron Judge is putting on a historic MVP-caliber season with 29 home runs, while Anthony Rizzo (22) and Giancarlo Stanton (20) are also in the top-10 long-ball hitters this year, and the team’s combined 381 RBIs are the most in the MLB.
On the mound, the Yanks have been bolstered by solid play from ace Gerrit Cole, along with Nestor Cortes and Jordan Montgomery.
That leaves few holes in the roster in the Bronx. Still, the most pressing question facing Brian Cashman and the front office is the future of Gallo.
The 28-year-old outfielder, has seen significant struggles this season with a porous .165/.277/.325 stat line, and he’s seen his playing time curtailed by skipper Aaron Boone during his recent slump.
For more coverage of Joey Gallo and the Yankees, head to amNY.com.
Yankee fans can take solace that, if his struggles continue, they can rid themselves of Gallo after the season ends when his contract expires. The team would slap him with a Designate for Assignment (DFA) tag, or look to move him to another franchise that believes they can rehabilitate the struggling ball player.
So, what might Cashman and the Yankees do in the coming weeks to solidify their outfield, if they move on from Gallo?
Outfield trade targets
Ian Happ, Cubs: Long rumored to be a potential trade piece for Chicago, Happ would immediately be an improvement over Gallo. With a 32–48 record, the Cubs have little World Series hopes this year, and they may look to move their tantalizing 27-year-old in exchange for future assets — which the Yankees have in droves within their farm system. As a switch-hitter, Habb has recorded a respectable .283/.381/.460 stat line in his 6th MLB season, and would shore up one of the few positions of need for New York.
Ramón Laureano Jr., Athletics: Just like Happ, Laureano Jr. could be a nice target for the Yankees’ outfield. He is not the power hitter that Bronx Bomber fans have become accustomed to, but he gets on base nearly a third of his at-bats. He currently plays center field, but his skill set would allow a seamless move to left. Laureano Jr. is slated to hit free agency after 2023, and the A’s have conducted a fire sale for all their best assets as they sit at the bottom of the MLB with a 27–55 record, increasing the likelihood that Oakland would move him for the right price.
Andrew Benintendi, Royals: Also near the bottom of the standings, Kansas City may look to acquire whatever assets they can for their 27-year-old left fielder. The Yankees would have significant competition if the Royals officially put Benintendi on the trading block, as he has been among the team’s few bright spots this season with a .380/.400/.780 stat line — but adding him would make the lineup in the Bronx a true force to be reckoned with.
Tommy Pham, Reds: Currently on a one-year deal with Cincinnati, fans may know Pham from his infamous slap of Joc Pederson that resulted from a dispute involving a meme and a fantasy football league. On the field, however, the journeyman has recorded a .253/.343/.416 stat line, with 11 homers and 65 hits. While those numbers are not Judge-levels of greatness, they would be a solid improvement of Gallo — and the Reds, the MLB’s second-worst team, may be willing to part with the 34-year-old.
Bryan Reynolds, Pirates: At 27-years-old, Reynolds is under contract with Pittsburgh for this season and the next on a reasonable $6.75 million deal. With 15 homers and 72 hits through 285 at-bats this year, Yankee fans would love to welcome Reynolds as a new addition to replace Gallo. He has improved steadily through his 4 years in the big leagues, and could be a long-term option for the team that will need to pay-up big money to keep their stars — particularly Judge, who enters free agency after the conclusion of this season.