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Potential Outfield Trade Targets For The New York Yankees

By News Creatives Authors , in Business , at July 20, 2021

The Major League Baseball non-waiver trade deadline is 1PM Pacific Time Friday, July 30.

The trade deadline was set for Friday to keep the deadline in the normal work week for league and team offices, and avoid weekend afternoon games. Trades may still be made after July 30, but the player must pass through waivers before being traded.

Teams are now in the self-review, evaluation and decision making process regarding their own team needs and the potential players from other organizations to target in trade. 

The New York Yankees are a contending team dealing with a rash of severe injuries that has depleted their active roster and challenged their front office.

While every MLB team deals with injuries, the Yankees have been hit particularly hard regarding their outfield depth. Miguel Andujar, Clint Frazier, Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge and Tim Locastro are all on the MLB injured list for one reason or another. In the case of Judge, he is currently dealing with the league’s pandemic protocol, and his return may come sooner than the rest of the list.

The Yankees may be active in the trade market to shore up their outfield depth. To this writer, several players could make potential trade targets for general manager Brian Cashman and the Yankees front office. Some of those possible trade targets might include:

Upper Bracket Trade Targets:

Kris Bryant-OF/3B-Chicago Cubs-Bats Right-Age 29

Poised to enter free agency following this season, it is likely Bryant’s relationship with the Cubs is soured enough to keep him from extending with Chicago. 

Bryant filed and lost a grievance against the team when he felt the Cubs held back his promotion to the major leagues to save his service time. The sting of that decision and the resulting grievance still lives.

Bryant is a right-handed hitter, and not an ideal addition to an already right-handed heavy lineup. However, Bryant is an All Star quality player on both sides of the ball, has enough power to put a threat into opposing pitchers and is versatile enough to play in the infield as well as the outfield.

Bryant may be able to add an offensive jolt to the Yankees, and his acquisition could dramatically impact the pennant race in the American League East.

The price to obtain Bryant may be steep for a player “on loan” and “rented” to the Yankees while he awaits free agency. However, the Yankees are one team that may be able to extend Bryant’s contract immediately and avoid him leaving as a free agent.

Max Kepler-OF-Minnesota Twins-Bats Left-Age 28

In the prime of his career, Max Kepler has always been a solid hitter for the Twins. This year, Kepler is struggling at the plate. 

In 2019, Kepler hit 36 home runs and drove in 90 runs. Those statistics show his capabilities as a potential power hitter in left-handed hitter friendly Yankee Stadium.

Kepler isn’t hitting for a high batting average this year, but he is in double figures in home runs and could find new life in The Bronx. 

Always a good contact hitter in parts of seven seasons with Minnesota, Kepler has struck out more than 100 times once in a season, striking out 114 times in 511 plate appearances in 2017.

Kepler has a very good arm, is a good defender, and can play any outfield position well.

Starling Marte: OF-Miami Marlins-Bats Right-Age 32

It is widely reported that Starling Marte’s negotiations with the Miami Marlins have ended without an extension to his contract.

Marte is having an outstanding season on a losing baseball team.

It is important to note that Marlins Chief Executive Officer Derek Jeter, General Manager Kim Ng and Vice President of Player Development and Scouting Gary Denbo all have deep Yankees ties. They know the Yankees farm system and organization, and can try to extract great value from New York for a player with Marte’s skills.

Marte would bring a combination of a power bat and plenty of speed to steal bases to the Yankees lineup. He can play anywhere in the outfield, and provide an impactful bat to tuck in a currently underachieving lineup.

While Marte has passed the magic age of 30, he still has plenty of firepower and electricity in his game.

Dominic Smith-OF/1B-New York Mets-Bats Left-Age 26

Would the Mets ever trade with the Yankees in the highly charged New York market? Probably not. Should they? Yes, they should.

A trade for Dom Smith could potentially fetch the pitching help and players the Mets need to continue to contend in the NL East.

Just coming into his most productive age, Smith could give the Yankees a powerful, steady bat and good defense in left field and first base. He could be the perfect fit for the friendly right field porch with a bat that is finding the barrel more often and good enough power to break up a baseball game.

While the mega-contract signed by currently injured Francisco Lindor hasn’t had the impact the Mets had hoped, Lindor can still return to his previous production and offer the club quality play going forward. However, the Mets need to shore up their pitching. Enter the Yankees.

Mitch Haniger-OF-Seattle Mariners-Bats Right-Age 30

Mitch Haniger may soon be relegated to designated hitter duties for the Mariners once their dream outfield of Jarred Kelenic, Kyle Lewis and Julio Rodriguez all take the big league field together. That could happen in 2022.

If Haniger is available, the Yankees would be getting an outstanding player capable of hitting 30 home runs and driving in 95. He is just beginning to find his game, and has only played 

parts of five big league seasons. He has been injury prone, but seems to be very healthy and hitting well for an improved Mariners club.

Other Possibilities may include David Peralta of the Diamondbacks, Brandon Nimmo of the Mets or even Wil Myers of the Padres. Would Andrew Benintendi of the Royals be available?

Less Impactful Trade Options:

Tyler Naquin-OF-Cincinnati Reds-Bats Left-Age 30

Naquin would be an intriguing target for New York. He is having a very solid year in the National League, after being injured in his final years with Cleveland.

Naquin can hit with some power, plays good defense, and has a solid right field type arm.

Naquin could be an ideal fit as a platoon option outfielder against right-handed pitching.

While Naquin may not be a game-changing option, he could bring enough offense to improve the current depth in the Yankees outfield. That said, they would still require one of the more consequential bats noted above to really improve their outfield offense.

Kole Calhoun-Arizona Diamondbacks-Bats Left-Age 33

Kole Calhoun missed the first two months of this season due to a hamstring injury. 

A veteran outfielder in his 10th season, the Yankees would be getting a fresh player who is just beginning his season.

Calhoun would bring an interesting combination of a potentially good hitting tool with power in Yankee Stadium, as well as solid defense in right field.

Calhoun hit 33 home runs for the American League Los Angeles Angels as recently as 2019. He signed with Arizona as a free agent in December 2019.

The price for Calhoun may not be as steep as it would be for other potential outfielders, as Arizona may wish to receive back young prospects just beginning their careers in return.

Steven Duggar-OF-San Francisco Giants-Bats Left-Age 27

It might be tough to pry Duggar from the winning Giants, but he is a very good defensive center fielder with speed. Those are qualities the Yankees need.

Duggar’s offense has improved markedly this year, showing much improved pop in his bat. To this scout, he’s a much better option than Brett Gardner.

Sam Hilliard-OF-Colorado Rockies-Bats Left-Age 27

Hilliard has never really had a chance for sustained play with Colorado. It remains to be seen if he can hit major league pitching. However, he is a high reward/low risk option.

One looks at Hilliard’s numbers and questions his hit tool. However, he has never had more than 114 plate appearances in the big leagues. Might he be lightning in a bottle? At times, teams can find a hidden gem waiting for an opportunity. That’s what this writer believes could be the case with Sam Hilliard.

Yankees Trade Chips:

So what Yankees players would other teams want in trades? This writer can’t predict which players the Yankees brass could or would make available in trade. However, Here are some possibilities:

Deivi Garcia-RHP

Luis Gil- RHP

Luis Medina-RHP

Clarke Schmidt-RHP (currently injured)

Yoendrys Gomez-RHP

Alexander Vizcaino-RHP

Estavan Florial-OF

Oswaldo Peraza-SS

Clint Frazier-OF (currently injured)

Miguel Andujar (currently injured)

Conclusions:

Nagging injuries have stripped the New York Yankees of their outfield depth. Players counted on to produce runs have been sidelined, and the season is marching along.  

Trading for an impact outfielder bat and/or outfield depth should be on the docket of the Yankees front office.

To this writer, Joey Gallo of the Rangers and Bryan Reynolds of the Pirates are two players off limits in trades. They are too valuable as their own teams seen to build around them.

The Yankees will have to trade quality to obtain quality. If they wish to fix an injured outfield, they will have to part with players their own organization values. However, for lesser players, names not on the list above or even cash considerations may help them strengthen the outfield depth.

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