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Potential MLB Trade Deadline Targets for The New York Yankees

All is not well with the New York Yankees as we approach the MLB Trade Deadline. This team is struggling to get wins or score runs and time seems to be running out. Dropping a series to the Colorado Rockies over the weekend has made the need for upgrades even more apparent. The Yankees are only two games out of the last wild card spot in the American League, but they sit at the bottom of their division. This is the lowest the Yankees have been in their division at this point in the season in a long time. To say Yankee fans are frustrated is an understatement.

If the Yankees are to seriously contend in the second half, they need to start hitting. They can use another arm in the bullpen but the lack of offense is killing this Yankees team. They fire their hitting coach just before the All-Star break, but that hasn't produced much offense to start the second half. In my mind, the Yankees need to come away with at least three new bats and two arms at the trade deadline if they seriously want to catch up in the best division in baseball. Here is a list of players that Brian Cashman and the Yankees can go after to upgrade their team.

Note: I will not talk about a potential Shohei Otoniti trade in this article. While he would be a definite upgrade, he is not a realistic trade option at this point. But things change…

OF Randal Grichuk, Colorado Rockies

Randal Grichuk

Photo Credit: GettyImages

The Yankees are without their star outfielder Aaron Judge, and clearly needed an outfielder that can add to the offense. Offense. The Yankees have been connected to quite a few outfielders in recent weeks and have been checking in on Rockies outfielder Randal Grichuk.

Grichuk is set to become a free agent in 2024, so this would be more than a half season rental for the Yankees. Grichuk missed the beginning of the season while recovering from sports hernia surgery. But since returning from that injury, he is slashing .300/.364/.473. The Yankees got a bird's eye view of his improvement over this past weekend. Through his last 14 games, Grichuck is batting .327 with 3 home runs, essentially raising his trade value in the process.

Grichuk is owed about $3.89 million for the remainder of his contract. This is right up the Yankees alley as they clearly don't spend the way that they used to.

Verdict: Trade

P Jack Flaherty, St. Louis Cardinals

Jack Flaherty

Photo Credit: GettyImages

The Cardinals are definitely sellers this season as they are near the bottom of the league. While there could be quite a few names mentioned in trades for the Cards, including All Star Nolan Arenado (see below), Jack Flaherty could be the easiest name on the move. With Flaherty set to become a free agent after the season, the Cards will want to get value for him now.

He’s been limited by injuries in recent years but has remained healthy this season. The only problem is that coming off those injuries. He's struggled the season with a 4.29 ERA, but leads his team with 7 wins (for whatever that's worth). However, Flaherty can be an effective back-end starter on a contending team. With Nestor Cortes not ready to pitch until August and Luis Severino struggling to regain his form, Flaherty fits a need for the Yankees. He's a half season rental that they Yankees can acquire cheap. These days, that's what the Yankees do, charge more and pay less.

Verdict: Trade

3B Jeimer Candelario, Washington Nationals

Jeimer Candelario

Photo Credit: GettyImages

The problem with the Yankees this season is that they have a massive hole at third base, but the market for third baseman via trade is slim pickings. Outside of Arenado, Jeimer Candelario is the best 3B player in the trade market. And that's not slight against him, just merely remarking on the limited third basemen available.

After a tough season in 2022, Candelario has bounced back for a solid 2023. He's hitting. 260, but an OPS of .813 and WAR of 2.8. He's also playing an above average third base in the field. This might cost the Yankees a little bit because the market is so bad for their basement. But it should be a manageable expense for a team that desperately needs a third baseman. I wouldn't be surprised if the Yankees do business with the Nationals to nab Candelario and RF Lance Thomas. Thomas is having a terrific season as he's hitting .299, 14 home runs and 50 RBIs. This is a deal that the Yankees should be able to manage as well.

Verdict: Trade

OF Cody Bellinger, Chicago Cubs

Cody Bellinger

Photo Credit: GettyImages

There's no trade that makes more sense for the Yankees than Cody Bellinger. Bellinger is still a shadow of his MVP days but he's a left-handed bat that plays the outfield and still has a little bit of pop. He would help balance the Yankees lineup that has been two right-handed for years, while also providing an upgrade to their outfield defense.

Bellinger's hitting .301 with 12 home runs, at OPS of .882 and the WAR of 2.4. he would be a perfect fit in that Yankee stadium short porch in right field. I can see the Yankees going after Bellinger and also nabbing a picture in Drew smiley. They could reach higher for Marcus Stroman but I don't see that happening. Stroman is not a fit for the Yankees and I don't think he ever wants to be a Yankee.

Verdict: Trade

3B Nolan Arenado, St. Louis Cardinals

Nolan Arenado

Photo Credit: GettyImages

This is a major deal and The question that needs to be asked is how far will the Cardinals go in their expected fire sale. The August 1st tree deadline will see the Cardinals unload some players to try to rebuild this Ross or after a disappointing start to the season. But training their star third baseman Nolan Arenado

The Cardinals just traded for him not too long ago from the Diamondbacks, and the Diamondbacks may be linked to trading back for him. Arenado is hitting .283 with 19 extra-base hits including 19 home runs, 62 RBIs and a .850 OPS in 86 games. This would be an expensive trade for the Yankees, but it would be an upgrade to the 3B position that has struggled all season. DJ LeMahieu and Josh Donaldson have not hit anywhere near what they have in the past. Donaldson has just hit the aisle with another injury and an upgrade is needed for the long term.

Verdict: No Trade

SS Tim Anderson, Chicago White Sox

Tim Anderson

Photo Credit: GettyImages

The Chicago White Sox are another team that should be sellers at the trade deadline. They're currently 15 games under 500 in the worst division in baseball. There's no chance for them to come back and moving on from shortstop Tim Anderson would do a lot to upgrade their farm system. Tim Anderson was a .318 hitter from 2019 and 2022, but has struggled mightily this year. He's hitting 227 with the WAR at -1.6. The White Sox have a $14 million club option on him for 2024 which could be appealing for a team if he does have a good second half.

The major issue with this trade is the history between Josh Donaldson and Anderson. These two would never share a clubhouse giving their history, so a trade wouldn't work right now. The Yankees would have to either trade Donaldson in another deal or just DFA him like they did Aaron Hicks. I've always been a fan of a DFA for Donaldson because you've got nothing from him. Donaldson's .133 average and -0.1 WAR makes him the best candidate to be released.

Verdict: No Trade

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