Yankees Rumors: Cody Bellinger market keeping Brian Cashman engaged?

Arizona Diamondbacks v Chicago Cubs
Arizona Diamondbacks v Chicago Cubs / Matt Dirksen/GettyImages

Last offseason, when the New York Yankees said they "weren't done yet" after signing Carlos Rodón to a six-year, $162 million contract, they indeed ended up being done. The market for Bryan Reynolds remained too high and Brian Cashman and Co. failed to make another impact move.

This offseason, however, has had a totally different feel. The Yankees have been actively involved with the top names in free agency and available in trades (or at the very least, mentioned in rumors connecting them to said players).

They already traded for Juan Soto and Alex Verdugo. They signed Marcus Stroman and smartly let Luis Severino, Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Frankie Montas go. They're reportedly the only team to make an offer to left-hander Blake Snell. Many have said they're still interested in Jordan Montgomery, too.

And it appears their link to Cody Bellinger still hasn't died yet. The lefty slugger has been dubbed a Yankees target since the buzz picked up around the 2023 trade deadline. Though the Yankees didn't bite earlier this offseason, it's apparently still possible they pull something off.

Bellinger's remained on the market for months with little interest because of his reported high asking price (as Scott Boras seemingly won't relent). The Chicago Cubs are believed to be the most likely landing spot, but could the Bombers swoop in at the 11th hour?

Yankees Rumors: Cody Bellinger market keeping Brian Cashman engaged?

Here's what MLB.com's Mark Feinsand wrote in a recent column:

"Another exec who predicted a Snell-Giants match also pegged the Yankees as the team to sign Bellinger, who could see time at first base, center field and DH in 2024, then potentially take over at first base in 2025, if New York declines Anthony Rizzo’s club option at the end of this season.

'I don’t know if those are the exact moves,' the exec said. 'But I think both of those clubs have money to spend and need to do something to make a splash.'

Another NL exec also believes the Yankees will make another notable move, though he didn’t specify whether that would be Bellinger, Snell or somebody else.

'[GM Brian Cashman] has one more move up his sleeve,' the executive said."

Mark Feinsand, MLB.com

Wouldn't the Yankees be a more desirable spot for Belli than, say, the Detroit Tigers? You'd have to think if it came down to taking the most possible money or sacrificing some to land with a contender, Bellinger would choose the latter.

The problem is, the Yankees are being taxed at an insanely high rate after passing the Cohen threshold and not resetting the payroll, so every dollar they spend from this point forward will cost them double in 2024. Even if Bellinger is secured on a shorter-term deal, it's still going to cost the Yankees a ton.

Then again, there's a need to fill center field right now. There's a need at first base likely after 2024. They'll be a need for DH reps beyond 2024 once the team figures out its situation with Giancarlo Stanton.

Fans haven't seen the Yankees be this cutthroat in their offseason machinations in quite some time, so that's why many are raising an eyebrow at this rumor. But they definitely have the capability to do it. Bellinger is also a fit. The Yanks are also a tad desperate since they'll have many momentous roster decisions to make yet again come next offseason.

If this is their "we're not done yet" move, fans might forgive the team for stopping short last offseason.