July 15, 2024

Yankees Urged to Pursue Trade for $30 Million Anthony Rizzo Replacement

As the July 30 trade deadline approaches, the New York Yankees’ roster needs are becoming clearer. One pressing issue is first base. Should GM Brian Cashman consider acquiring outfielder/first baseman Cody Bellinger from the Chicago Cubs?

Sports Illustrated’s Evan Massey believes this is worth exploring.

“Anthony Rizzo is out due to injury, but even before his injury, there were suggestions that the Yankees might seek an upgrade,” he said. “Various players have been speculated as potential targets, including Paul Goldschmidt, Pete Alonso, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Now, Cody Bellinger should be on their radar.

“With the Cubs struggling recently, New York should consider pursuing a trade for Bellinger.”

The Cubs have lost four straight games and are last in the NL Central as of June 27, with a 37-44 record. They trail the Milwaukee Brewers by 11 games and the final NL Wild Card spot by five games.

Cubs Look Smart For Investing In Cody Bellinger's Comeback

The Yankees are also facing difficulties, having lost three straight games and eight of their last 10. Despite this, they have a 52-30 record and hold a one-game lead in the AL East over the Baltimore Orioles. This puts them in a better position to buy compared to Chicago.

Bellinger Would Be a Significant Upgrade for New York

Although Bellinger’s 2024 performance hasn’t matched his 2023 resurgence, he would still greatly enhance the Yankees’ lineup.

Last year, Bellinger hit .307/.356/.525 with 26 home runs, 97 RBI, 95 runs, and 20 steals for the Cubs. He re-signed with them on a three-year, $80 million deal, with this season’s $30 million being the only guaranteed year. He has opt-outs after 2024 and 2025.

If the Cubs consider trading Bellinger, interested teams would likely view him as a half-season rental. Nevertheless, he would be a valuable addition to many lineups. This season, Bellinger is hitting .273/.333/.432 with nine homers, 34 RBI, and 32 runs in 291 plate appearances.

Rizzo is expected to be out for about two months due to a fractured forearm. However, his position as the starting first baseman was already under scrutiny due to early-season struggles, with a batting average of just .223/.289/.341 in 291 plate appearances before his injury.

Bellinger & the Yankees Have Been Linked Before

The idea of Bellinger joining the Yankees isn’t new. During his 2023 resurgence on a one-year, $17.5 million deal, there was speculation about him being a prime trade candidate. A hot streak in July led the Cubs to keep him, but rumors persisted into the winter when he became a free agent. Jon Heyman of the New York Post reported that Bellinger was a top target for the Yankees to bolster their outfield. This possibility faded after New York traded for Juan Soto in December. However, with the Yankees seeking more offense and the Cubs falling out of contention, these rumors may resurface. Instead of putting him in the outfield, Bellinger would likely strengthen the underperforming right side of New York’s infield.

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