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MLB Insider: Yankees Looking to Trade For Outfielder Before Deadline

With Joey Gallo and Aaron Hicks struggling, New York is preparing to add an outfielder before next month's trade deadline.

The best team in Major League Baseball could get even better over the next month, addressing one of their biggest weaknesses ahead of the trade deadline.

According to Jon Heyman of the New York Post, the Yankees are beginning to monitor the trade market for outfielders. 

New York's interest in adding an outfielder is a direct result of the lack of production from Joey Gallo and Aaron Hicks. Gallo has been ineffectual all year long—he's currently hitless in his last 26 at-bats, hitting just .165 this season—while Hicks has cooled off significantly since a promising stretch offensively several weeks ago.

The Yankees have options internally that could fill the void in the corner outfield spots down the stretch. Miguel Andújar has been seeking more playing time for years, Estevan Florial is shining with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this season and Tim Locastro would provide speed and defensive versatility.

Nonetheless, there are several experienced outfielders that could be available leading up to the August 2 deadline, players that can instantly take this high-octane lineup to the next level. 

Here's more from Heyman's report:

Juan Soto would top any big-market team’s outfield wish list, but he remains extremely unlikely to be available, and Bryan Reynolds, whom the Yankees have tried for before, is only slightly more likely to hit the market. In an extreme sellers’ market, the Royals’ Andrew Benintendi, the Orioles’ Anthony Santander and the Cubs’ Ian 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.

The surprising Orioles are seen as reluctant to send an early sell message to fans/players by trading non free agents early, and while they’d have to be blown away to deal outfield stars Cedric Mullins or Austin Hays, word is they’d consider a Santander trade. The Diamondbacks’ David Peralta and the Tigers’ Robbie Grossman are other outfield trade candidates.

The Yankees love Gallo’s defense/athleticism, but he hadn’t had a hit in a week through Wednesday. While a rival GM suggested he’s “untradeable,” some who know him are wondering whether New York is the right spot for him …

Reynolds and Benintendi have been linked to the Yankees before this season. New York was recently listed by another MLB insider as one of the best fits for both of those outfielders. 

It would take a gargantuan package to get Reynolds from the Pirates. Benintendi would be a rental and his numbers on offense have dipped since his stellar start to the season (he slashed .265/.324/.337 with one home run in June). Still, that's much better than what the Yankees have received from Gallo since he was acquired last summer.

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Happ and Santander would be more affordable. Both are switch hitters with thump from the left side of the plate. As Heyman alluded to, however, there are no guarantees those two will be available. 

New York is obviously familiar with Santander and his offensive potential from his time with the Orioles. Then again, his defense seems like a liability, a steep step down from Gallo or Hicks. With Giancarlo Stanton, Josh Donaldson and more rotating in at designated hitter, that could be a counterintuitive move.

Meanwhile, Peralta is a tremendous defender. He's in the 94th percentile in Outs Above Average this season and a former Gold Glove Award winner. His offensive numbers have been consistent through much of his career as well, a lefty slugger that could wreak havoc at Yankee Stadium.

Grossman has struggled with Detroit this year (he's slashing .215/.316/.290 with two home runs in 200 at-bats), but his plate discipline is elite. He's also just one year removed from a 23-homer campaign with the Tigers (.772 OPS over 156 games).

Eventually the Yankees will need to decide if they'd rather add a fresh face and trade away some valuable pieces or stick with the options they already have in the organization. Andújar recently requested a trade, but if he was promoted and handed a significant chunk of playing time in place of Gallo, for example, you have to figure he'd be content and ready to produce. You can argue Florial has earned an extended shot in pinstripes and Locastro's speed alone is invaluable for any big-league club. 

That said, if New York can acquire an outfielder before the deadline, utilizing their strong farm system to get even better before their pursuit of a championship truly begins this fall, it'll be hard not to pounce. 

Sometimes the best trades are the ones you don't make. In this case, replacing Gallo with a stud would make this lineup even deeper and scarier leading up to October.

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