Perhaps the Yankees could use the services of a resurgent slugger to revitalize what has been a stale offense with Aaron Judge.
Major League Baseball’s trade deadline is one week away on Aug. 1 and the Yankees have made it known that they are in the market for multiple positions — most notably an outfielder to add some slugging depth as Aaron Judge completes his recovery from a toe injury and for when he does return.
Enter Cody Bellinger: The 2019 National League MVP with the Los Angeles Dodgers who had fallen so far from grace that he was allowed to walk in free agency last winter where he signed a one-year deal with the Chicago Cubs.
Bellinger has rediscovered himself within the friendly confines. After he slashed .203/.272/.376 (.648 OPS) across 295 games between 2020-2022 while averaging just 14 home runs and 45 RBI, the 28-year-old is slashing .319/.369/.549 (.918 OPS) with 14 home runs and 44 RBI in just 68 games this year.
The Cubs are on the outer skirts of the National League playoff picture this season. Entering Tuesday’s play three games under .500, they are still very much in it thanks to a weak division being just seven games out of the NL Central lead. They’re also just five games out of the final Wild Card spot.
But reports have suggested that the Cubs could be sellers at the trade deadline and Bellinger — who is positioning himself for a nice payday this winter — is one of the biggest names on the block.
The Athletic’s Jim Bowden, after a month of other reports linking the Yankees to Bellinger, once again linked the two together this week.
“Because so many teams could use a hitter like Bellinger,” Bowden began. “From the (Miami Marlins) to the (Cleveland Guardians) to the Yankees to the (San Diego Padres) and more, I would take advantage of that market and deal him too.”
Without Judge, the Yankees have been nothing short of mediocre. Before a sweep of the lowly Kansas City Royals — one of the very worst teams in baseball — New York had been held to three or fewer runs 21 times in 38 games without their slugging star.
They don’t have another qualified batter with an OPS over .800 this season and three of their five other bats that have more than 10 home runs are batting under .210.
Heading into the Subway Series tied for last in the American League East, nine games behind the division-leading Baltimore Orioles, and 2.5 games back of the Wild Card, the wait for a big bat — whether that’s through the return of Judge or elsewhere — has already been far too long.