Sanskar Tiwari

New York Yankees Sticking With Homegrown Talent as Cody Bellinger Gains Interest

In an eventful offseason marked by big changes in the outfield, the New York Yankees carefully shaped their team for the upcoming 2024 season. The Bronx Bombers made a series of trades, acquiring left-handed powerhouses Alex Verdugo, Juan Soto, and Trent Grisham. This strategic move aimed to create a strong outfield trio for the upcoming season. Surprisingly, they did not pursue free agent outfielder Cody Bellinger, as YES Network analyst Jack Curry shared on Monday.

Yankees’ Outfield Makeover In Line

The Yankees’ bold offseason moves began with acquiring Alex Verdugo from the Boston Red Sox. The trade caught attention for its favorable terms. Building on this, the Bronx Bombers made a significant deal with the San Diego Padres. They gave up four pitchers and catcher Kyle Higashioka to acquire outfielders Juan Soto and Trent Grisham. These thoughtful moves, all landing left-handed hitters, position the Yankees to take advantage of the short right-field porch at Yankee Stadium. Contrary to expectations, the Yankees chose not to enter the Cody Bellinger competition, a decision revealed by YES Network analyst Jack Curry. Despite Bellinger’s left-handed power and defensive skills, the Yankees had concerns about the 28-year-old outfielder. Previous reports indicated concerns within the organization about Bellinger’s hard-hit metrics. These metrics placed him below the league average in exit velocity, barrel percentage, and hard-hit percentage.

   
Yankees
Yankees/Alex Verdugo

Bellinger displayed potential with a stellar .307/.356/.525 slash line and 26 home runs in the previous season. However, the Yankees remain cautious due to his inconsistent performance in recent years. From winning the NL Rookie of the Year (2017) and the NL MVP (2019) with the Los Angeles Dodgers to struggling in 2021 and 2022, Bellinger’s path has been unpredictable. Now a free agent seeking a long-term deal exceeding $150 million, Bellinger has attracted interest from multiple teams. However, the Yankees, mindful of past contract pitfalls, are being careful about committing to a player with fluctuating performance.

The Bronx Bombers Facing Cody Bellinger Challenge

While Shohei Ohtani has found his new home, attention now turns to Cody Bellinger, arguably the most sought-after free-agent hitter remaining. Despite an impressive 2023 season with the Chicago Cubs, Bellinger’s previous struggles raise questions about which version of the player potential suitors might acquire. As teams across the league assess Bellinger’s fit, the Toronto Blue Jays emerge as potential frontrunners. Disappointed after missing out on Ohtani, the Blue Jays view Bellinger as the ideal left-handed bat to complement their powerful lineup featuring Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, and George Springer.

Cody Bellinger 1
Yankees/Cody Bellinger

Potential Suitors for Bellinger

  1. Blue Jays: Seeking a left-handed bat to enhance their lineup.
  2. Yankees: Despite recent outfield acquisitions, skepticism lingers, and the allure of Bellinger’s potential is hard to ignore.
  3. Cubs: A reunion could be in the works, considering Bellinger’s previous success with the team.
  4. Astros: A solid fit for an aging core, though the left-handed lineup balance is a consideration.
  5. Angels: Looking to spend post-Ohtani, Bellinger could provide a formidable presence alongside Mike Trout.
  6. Red Sox: Despite a crowded outfield, Boston remains a potential player in the Bellinger sweepstakes.
  7. Phillies: With Bryce Harper at first base, Bellinger could add depth to the Phillies’ outfield.
  8. Mets: Financially robust but questionable fit; the Mets may still be in the mix.

As Cody Bellinger’s free agency journey unfolds, the Yankees have stuck with their own talent, showing confidence in their recent outfield acquisitions. While Bellinger explores potential suitors, the intrigue surrounding his impact on a new team remains a central storyline, adding an extra layer of excitement to the ongoing offseason narrative.