The New York Yankees and Chicago Cubs are no strangers to doing business. The last two trade deadlines, the Cubbies sent Anthony Rizzo and Scott Effross to the Bombers in exchange for three prospects. Will they run the streak up to three in 2023?
As we approach the Aug. 1 deadline, it's obvious the Yankees need roster reinforcements. They need an outfielder, a left-handed bat, and some pitching of any kind. If the Yankees want a one-stop shop and the Cubs are willing to sell some pieces, this could be a smart move for both sides.
That is, unless, Aaron Judge is ruled out for the season and New York conducts a partial sale to get rid of expiring contracts/bad contracts. Don't rule it out!
Let's pretend the Yankees are buying, though. If they were to circle back with Jed Hoyer in Chicago, he has a couple of veterans that might be of interest for New York in both 2023 and beyond. The first is obvious: Cody Bellinger.
One MLB scout told MLB.com that Bellninger "could be a good fit" in the Yankees lineup. Riveting stuff, never would've guessed a Gold Glove outfielder and lefty power bat would help New York's current downtrodden situation. Nonetheless, the link was made, and here we are.
Yankees Rumors: Cubs to help out New York at trade deadline?
Bellinger's on a somewhat pricey deal with a sizable mutual option for 2024, but the Yankees need outfielders and lefty bats. And this would work out with or without Harrison Bader in the picture. Bellinger can play one of the corner spots if Bader stays or take over in center if he doesn't.
The one pitfall here it putting a major spotlight on Bellinger, who faltered big time over his final two seasons in Los Angeles.
Perhaps the Yankees are interested, though, and want Bellinger. Why wouldn't they ask about Kyle Hendricks, too, now that the right-hander is back on track after undergoing shoulder surgery and looking like his former self?
Hendricks is making $14 million this year and has a $16 million club option for 2024. The Yankees need starters this year and in 2024 when Luis Severino and Frankie Montas are officially gone. Hendricks would be a really good veteran piece to sandwich in between Gerrit Cole, Carlos Rodón and the younger options.
So far in 2023, the right-hander owns a 2.64 ERA, 3.46 FIP and 0.94 WHIP in his first eight starts back after nearly a year out of action. He's averaged six innings per outing and has logged quality starts against the Padres, Giants, Pirates, Phillies and Brewers. If the Cubs are looking ahead to 2024 and beyond, Hendricks doesn't figure to be a primary piece, so freeing up that money plus getting a younger building block in return is probably the more enticing move for them.
Some Yankees fans might accurately say that this doesn't help the team get younger, but there are plenty of other names coming off the books after 2023 and the team can address those spots to fill with non-aging options. For now, as long as Judge is in the fold for this year, the Yankees need to stay afloat, and this combo trade will help them do more than just that.