Thursday, August 11, 2022

MLB rumors: Yankees seeking outfield upgrade amid struggles of Joey Gallo and Aaron Hicks

MLB: JUN 24 Athletics at Royals
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The New York Yankees have, by a substantial margin, been the best team in baseball thus far in 2022, but they’re not without roster holes. As the Aug. 2 trade deadline begins to come into focus, the Yankees may be seeking to address those roster holes. Specifically, Jon Heyman reports that the Yankees are seeking an upgrade in the outfield.  

While Aaron Judge is at the forefront of the AL MVP discussion thus far, fellow outfielders Joey Gallo and Aaron Hicks have struggled badly in 2022. Gallo at present is batting .165/.276/.330 and at this writing hasn’t registered a hit since June 17. Hicks, meantime, has enjoyed some clutch moments this season, but his overall line of .218/.338/.284 isn’t adequate. Elsewhere, Marwin Gonzalez has put up solid numbers, but his defensive versatility means he’s best deployed in a super-utility role. 

As for possible targets, Heyman writes: 

“In an extreme sellers’ market, the RoyalsAndrew Benintendi, the OriolesAnthony Santander and the CubsIan Happ might fit best, with the added bonus that all are left-handed or switch hitters. Benintendi will be a free agent after this season while Santander (free agent after 2024) and Happ (free agent after 2023) won’t be and thus uncertain to be dealt.”

All of those names have been varying levels of productive this season, and each would figure to be a substantial improvement over what the Yankees have gotten from Gallo and Hicks thus far. As Heyman indicates, Benintendi is probably most readily available among the three. 

Another name to consider — and one that may be more obtainable than those above — is Ramon Laureano of the A’s. Laureano has produced solidly at the plate this season, particularly on a park-adjusted basis, and his batted-ball metrics suggest he’s been a bit unlucky thus far. As well, he has solid range in the outfield and one of the best throwing arms in the game today. The A’s are squarely in tank mode, so he’s almost certainly available. 

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