The New York Yankees will reportedly be "knocking on those doors" and "having those conversations" about the league's top free agents, according to Brian Cashman on Thursday. While that amounts to a whole lot of nothing, consensus remains that the Yankees will pursue Juan Soto, Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Cody Bellinger, and have typically been placed amongst the finalists for all three big names.
But there might be one conversation they haven't had yet regarding Bellinger that could be a bellweather in this pursuit.
Last week, the Yankees reached out to recently fired Cubs manager David Ross, who declined an opportunity to return to New York (so soon) as the team's bench coach. He's seeking a managerial job or nothing. Water under the bridge.
But, though Aaron Boone and Ross are close -- the genesis of the bench coach idea in the first place -- the ex-Cub claims nobody from the Yankees' side has reached out to him to discuss the finer points of Bellinger's candidacy. It's interesting, to say the least, that New York has decided to leave the most logical stone unturned.
Yankees haven't called David Ross on Cody Bellinger. Have they called Dave Roberts?
Both Ross and 2023 Cubs bench coach Andy Green told Joel Sherman they were quite confident in Bellinger's continued success, despite low exit velocities and quality of contact questions that will dog him all offseason long.
"Cody, for me, metrically, it’s not going to jump off the page. He doesn’t hit the ball the hardest of anybody or have this super-disciplined approach, but his bat-to-ball skills are one of those things I haven’t seen in a long time for a player that produced what he did this year with power, gap-to-gap ability, stolen bases. Putting the ball in play with his skill set really stood out to me. "- David Ross
Notably, neither man is still employed by the Chicago Cubs.
Signing Bellinger is an expensive gambit that the Yankees, Giants and incumbent Cubs, where he revitalized his career, have all put varying degrees of faith in.
If the Yankees' interest is serious, they should contact Ross themselves in the days to come, though Dodgers manager Dave Roberts might be a better resource. In Los Angeles, Roberts saw Bellinger go from a league MVP to a lefty slugger with a troublesome shoulder to non-tendered/unplayable for a good two years. It might be more revealing to speak with someone who watched him experience lows rather than a manager who received unencumbered success from the current free agent.