Yankees considering Bellinger boost? Scouts reportedly monitoring Cubs’ OF

Yankees scouts reportedly watch Cubs' Cody Bellinger in June 2024.
Sara Molnick
Tuesday July 2, 2024

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According to reports published on The Athletic, the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers have ramped up their scouting efforts around the Chicago Cubs. Their likely target is Cody Bellinger, the versatile outfielder.

The Chicago Cubs, who began the 2024 season with high hopes for contention, might be shifting toward a seller’s stance as the MLB trade deadline approaches. This potential change comes after a prolonged slump that has seen the team post the fourth-worst record. This increased activity by the Yankees’ scouts indicates that the team is closely evaluating potential trade assets within the Cubs’ roster.

Bellinger stands out as a prime trade target for the Yankees, who could use Bellinger’s left-handed power and ability to play first base. The 28-year-old is earning $27.5 million this season, with any acquiring team responsible for roughly half of his remaining salary. His contract also includes a player option for 2025, featuring a $2.5 million buyout if he declines the $27.5 million salary for that year.

The lefty was linked to the Yankees both during the 2023 season and in the offseason. However, the trade didn’t materialize and also, New York ducked his free agency causing Bellinger to stay in Chicago.

As the MLB trade deadline nears, the Yankees are once again considering the Chicago Cubs outfielder as a potential trade target. This renewed interest follows Bellinger’s impressive 2023 season, which initially sparked trade discussions that were halted by the Cubs’ mid-season resurgence.

Yankees eye Bellinger as Rizzo fails to impact

Yankess offseason target Cody Bellinger with 2020 WS trophy.

Cody Bellinger, the versatile outfielder from the Chicago Cubs, has surfaced as a potential trade target for the Yankees, who are looking to reinforce their lineup in the wake of Anthony Rizzo’s injury.

Bellinger, who impressed with a .307/.356/.525 slash line, 26 home runs, and 97 RBIs last season, re-signed with the Cubs on a three-year, $80 million contract that includes opt-outs after 2024 and 2025. This season, he is batting .273/.333/.432 with nine homers and 34 RBIs through 291 plate appearances—solid numbers, though not quite matching his 2023 performance.

The Yankees’ interest in Bellinger is timely, given Rizzo’s two-month absence due to a fractured forearm. Rizzo had been struggling, hitting just .223/.289/.341 before his injury. 

Bellinger’s left-handed bat and defensive versatility make him an appealing option for the Yankees, who would likely view him as a valuable addition for a playoff push. Given his contract, any team acquiring Bellinger might see him as a half-season rental, yet his potential impact on the Yankees’ roster could be significant.

Can the Yankees get him?

Cody Bellinger is being targeted by MLB heavyweights, including the Yankees

Bellinger, who joined the Cubs on a one-year, $17.5 million contract last year, has remained on the Yankees’ radar. Rumors of his potential fit in New York continued into the off-season, with Jon Heyman of the New York Post noting in November that Bellinger topped the Bombers’ list for outfield reinforcements. Although the Yankees acquired Juan Soto in December, their interest in Bellinger has resurfaced as they seek to bolster their offense amid the Cubs’ declining contention status.

The former NL MVP is hitting .267 this season, above his career average, but his power numbers have dipped, with a .416 slugging percentage and just nine home runs. Despite this, his consistent performance at the plate has kept potential trade suitors interested.

The Yankees are now evaluating Bellinger as a potential upgrade for their right side of the infield, in addition to an outfield option. His left-handed power and versatility could prove beneficial, especially given Anthony Rizzo’s injury-related absence.

As the trade deadline looms, the speculation around Bellinger joining the Yankees intensifies. His ability to play multiple positions offers strategic lineup flexibility, which could be advantageous even after Rizzo’s return.

This revived interest highlights the dynamic nature of trade discussions and evolving team needs, with the Yankees’ pursuit of offensive enhancements and the Cubs’ potential shift to a seller’s mindset driving potential deals.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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4 thoughts on “Yankees considering Bellinger boost? Scouts reportedly monitoring Cubs’ OF

  1. Bellinger is trending in wrong direction although stats aren’t terrible. For the money, Luis Rengifo would be a better choice if prospects needed to be given up are fairly equal.

    1. You make a Good Point. On the other hand, the Cubs can’t expect too much for Belly. 27.5MM for a guy with 9 HRs is a huge overpay. They will have to chip in some money including some for next year if he opts in Prospect Cost could be Light

  2. Bellinger, no way. He has player options for both 2025 & 2026. Sorry, that is a bad contract for any club, especially when you consider what they will want in return. Now, if the Cubs are willing to keep 50%, then we have something to talk about.

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