Last Updated on November 5, 2023 at 7:43 am by Michael Bennington
The New York Yankees now have a real chance to sign their target Cody Bellinger. After an excellent comeback season, the former Rookie of the Year and NL MVP officially became a free agent by declining his 2024 mutual option with the Chicago Cubs.
After two difficult seasons that capped his time with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the former National League MVP appeared primed for a comeback this season. The 28-year-old defied expectations, turning in one of his best campaigns yet. Across 130 games, he hit for power and average, swiping 20 bags and driving in nearly 100 runs. Excelling at both first base and center field, his defensive versatility matched his offensive production.
While his departure from the Cubs seemed inevitable, it has opened the door for the veteran to find a new home, perhaps with the championship-chasing New York Yankees.
Cody Bellinger, who slashed .307/.356/.525 with 26 home runs, 20 steals, and 97 RBI over 130 games while excelling defensively at first base and center field, was linked to the Yankees during the 2023 season. He even dropped a hint about playing in the pinstripes like his father did in the past.
While 2023 batted ball metrics showing his success on soft contact could entice teams to pursue with a big multi-year deal for the player, the Cubs are still expected as top suitors to sign the former MVP to a substantial long-term contract. The Yankees need a left-hander and they won’t let the chance go without a competition.
Cody Bellinger for the Yankees
Per Jon Heyman of the New York Post, acquiring Cody Bellinger could help the Yankees address their offensive woes. While not a cure-all, he offers skills the Yankees need – consistent left-handed hitting and excellent outfield defense.
Heyman notes Cody Bellinger’s .303 average tops all current Yankees. His left-handed power stroke fits Yankee Stadium‘s dimensions well. Additionally, he would greatly upgrade the outfield defense alongside Harrison Bader and Aaron Judge.
Financially, the Yankees could absorb Cody Bellinger’s $17.5 million salary, albeit pushing their luxury tax bill higher. His availability increases with the sub-.500 Cubs poised to sell despite improvement. The market lacks other high-quality outfield bats beyond possibly Hunter Renfroe of the Angels and Boston’s Adam Duvall.
Interestingly, Cody Bellinger’s father Clay played for the successful Yankees and Angels, noting the family’s fortunate history. His agreeable personality also suits the Bombers.
Cody Bellinger brings coveted assets offensively, defensively, and personally, which could aid the Yankees if they pursue a trade.
Fan opinion divided
On Twitter, MLB fans debated Cody Bellinger’s potential fit with the Yankees. Opinions varied among Twitter users regarding a possible Bellinger acquisition. Some fans urged the Bombers to trade for him, believing he could positively impact the team.
However, others questioned if he would regress to past inconsistent performance. Some felt the Yankees should have signed him sooner, while others argued Bellinger wouldn’t thrive in New York, preferring players successful in smaller markets. Additionally, some criticized Bellinger’s power-focused approach and on-base skills as exacerbating existing team flaws.
Twitter discourse reflected divided opinions on whether pursuing Bellinger would benefit the Yankees, weighing factors like his inconsistency, New York pressure, and offensive approach. No fan consensus emerged on the wisdom of trading for the slugger.
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