We shall issue the warning once more. This year's class of free agents is thin, and just because there are some needs out there for the New York Yankees, it doesn't mean they should spend for the sake of filling a void.
If it's a reasonable expenditure and helps the team improve its forecast for 2024? Sure. If it's a deal in excess of five years and ~$100 million, please no ... unless you're trading for and extending Juan Soto. The discussion starts and ends there. Oh yeah, and pay for starting pitching, that's fine.
But Brian Cashman (if he's still here) needs to tread lightly on the position player front, especially if insiders continue to link certain names to the Yankees and the buzz intensifies.
Jon Heyman of the New York Post has been among the consistent voices mentioning one name in the Yankees' sphere, and fans are divided on the subject. Chicago Cubs star Cody Bellinger fills two obvious needs, but it feels like the trap of all traps for the Yankees.
In his latest column, Heyman also mentioned Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Matt Chapman, who feels like he'd be another misplaced asset in the Bronx (the Yankees certainly don't need a defense-first right-handed hitter, that's for sure).
Free agent traps continue to be linked to Yankees as rumors escalate
"Unfortunately, this is not the year to be needing hitters. The best hitting free agent catcher may be Gary Sanchez, and we know they aren’t going there.- Jon Heyman, NY Post
Shohei Ohtani is obviously the best hitter available, but he’ll only be a DH in 2024, which makes him an odd fit for the Yankees assuming they don’t want to eat $90 million left on Stanton’s contract.
Cody Bellinger and Matt Chapman both would fit, but the competition will be keen. Bellinger looks especially enticing as an outstanding center fielder and left-handed hitter who has regained near-MVP form on the North Side of Chicago."
Heyman added a spot-on joke about Bellinger at the end of his piece, too, saying Belli would be a good addition if they "let him do what he’s doing now and don’t mention the words 'launch' or 'angle.'" Seriously, don't let him play Dillon Lawson's version of "baseball."
Fans can only hope their lack of interest in Bellinger turns out to be real. It's the perfect offseason for Scott Boras to drive up the bidding and pitch Bellinger as the renewed 2019 MVP, a campaign he's already begun after bad-mouthing the Dodgers and then backtracking following Andrew Friedman's response.
We know, this sounds unproductive. We're constantly saying the Yankees need to improve the roster, but we're arguing against two players that are definitely better than options they have at the moment. But Chapman's defense doesn't make up for his redundant offensive profile. And Bellinger's revival surely has a greater chance to flame out in New York once the pressure is applied from the jump more than anywhere else. And neither option will be cheap.
The Yankees took a risk on Carlos Rodón, and so far it's backfired. Their next free agency splurge needs to be the surest of slam dunks. Bellinger and Chapman sadly don't fall under that category, so better get crackin' on the trade market.