Yankees: Mitch Haniger might be an underrated trade target for NYY


Whatever the circulating rumors are telling fans, it’s as clear as day the New York Yankees need to make a trade before the deadline. It doesn’t really matter exactly what it is, but something needs to be done.

So often we’ve talked about high-profile names or the obvious available candidates, but what about guys who could be moved if a team has a steep fall-off leading up to late July?

The Seattle Mariners are very much still “in the mix” at 28-29, but things could change on a dime — especially for them, since they don’t exactly have a roster oozing with top talent. If the wheels do come off, don’t be surprised if general manager Jerry Dipoto starts a fire sale to acquire assets.

And don’t be surprised if slugging outfielder Mitch Haniger is among the casualties.

And wouldn’t he just be a fitting candidate to land with the Bombers? Though most of his experience is in right field, he can play left. That’ll solve the team’s void out there. He’s also logged a career 598 innings in center, but has -5 DRS when playing that position. At the very least, he could fill in if needed and won’t be that bad.

On top of that, he can actually hit. He’s back to his 2018 All-Star ways and would be a cost-effective addition since he’s under club control through 2022.

The Yankees should at least eye the possibility of trading for Mitch Haniger.

Haniger was limited to just 63 games total across 2019 and 2020 due to injuries, but he’s returned with a vengeance in 2021. Through 54 games, he’s slashing .264/.315/.542 with 37 runs scored, 14 home runs and 36 RBI. That’s more runs scored, homers, and runs batting in than ANY NEW YORK YANKEE AT THE MOMENT.

The Yankees are famously not getting the barrel on the ball in 2021 outside of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. You can look up the advanced metrics for yourself, but you don’t really need to. It’s the easiest eye test of all time.

Adding Haniger into the lineup will bring the Bombers another bat that gets wood on the ball (89th percentile for barrel percentage) and can put a charge into it. Silly Yankees, they thought Gleyber Torres, Clint Frazier, Gary Sanchez, DJ LeMahieu and Gio Urshela would be able to do that in 2021. Sadly, that’s not the case! At all.

We keep emphasizing the need for lefties, but do you know how many righties are not hitting on this team? Literally almost all of them.

What other cool Haniger stats would help convince you that this could be the right move at the deadline? In 33 games (40 plate appearances), he’s slashing .371/.375/.771 with 25 runs scored, 3 home runs and 22 RBI with runners in scoring position. All of those homers and 10 of those RBI have come with two outs and runners in scoring position. In those situations, he’s hitting .353 with a 1.330 OPS (18 plate appearances). He’s hitting .304 with a .979 OPS in late and close situations (29 plate appearances).

Case closed? Not really. We’d like to see this sustained beyond two months, but the results are promising, and Haniger’s presence, at this very moment, would give this lifeless Yankees lineup exactly what it needs.