MLB Rumour roundup: Will Yankees look to add outfield help?

Blair and Barker believe the Toronto Blue Jays are the only team in AL East that needs to look for help outside of their organization.

We’re roughly at the halfway point of the 2022 MLB season and with the Aug. 2 trade deadline less than one month away, teams are in the process of figuring out whether they’re buyers or sellers and what their needs might be for both the short and long-term.

The New York Yankees hold the best record in the majors and are one of the obvious buyers.

The 58-22 Yankees are currently assessing the trade market, according to Jon Heyman of the New York Post, specifically in the hopes of upgrading the outfield.

Rightfielder Aaron Judge is in the midst of a career year, leading the majors with 29 home runs, but fellow outfielders Joey Gallo and Aaron Hicks have left much to be desired in recent weeks.

Gallo has been struggling at the plate with only one hit and 18 strikeouts in 38 plate appearances since mid-June. The 28-year-old is in his second season with the Yankees after being acquired from Texas in a 2021 trade. Gallo is lauded for his defensive play, though, earning Golden Gloves in each of the past two seasons.

Meanwhile, the 32-year-old switch-hitting Hicks is slashing .221/.342/.284 right now, which is below his 10-year career average.

Heyman mentioned Andrew Benintendi of the Royals, Anthony Santander of the Orioles and Chicago Cubs star Ian Happ as potential strong fits for the Yankees, however it’s unclear whether or not any of those players will be dealt before the trade deadline.

Benintendi is expected to be a coveted commodity ahead of the deadline, so the Yankees would hypothetically have competition to land Benintendi who spent the first five years of his pro career in the AL East with the Red Sox.

Will New York’s other team make push for Mancini?

The NL East-leading New York Mets were one of the teams to check on the availability Baltimore's Trey Mancini, according to Heyman.

Of Mancini’s 71 appearances this year prior to Monday, he had spent 38 as a designated hitter, 22 at first base and 11 in the outfield. Mancini, who is slated to make $10 million next season before becoming a free agent in 2024, is putting up better offensive numbers than Mets DH J.D. Davis so far this season.

Mancini’s team-leading .355 OBP would be tied with Pete Alonso for third-best on the Mets. Also, Mets manager Buck Showalter was with the Orioles from 2010-2018 and is familiar with Mancini what can add to a team.

Soto extension?

Juan Soto’s future with the Nationals remains up in the air, however the NL MVP runner-up from one year ago told the Washington Post he’s open to signing an extension with the team with whom he made his MLB debut in 2018.

Soto, 23, avoided arbitration and signed a one-year deal for 2022 that is paying him a guaranteed $17.1 million. He is arbitration-eligible the next two seasons. The star outfielder reportedly turned down a previous offer from Washington that exceeded $350 million over 13 years.

“Whenever they want to talk, they can talk with (my agent Scott Boras),” Soto said. “I mean, they have the numbers, they can call every day, they can negotiate with him every day if they want, and I won’t have a problem with that. I will be playing, and he’s going to let me know when they’re talking to each other. That’s it.”

How volatile will relief pitcher market be?

The relief pitcher market is typically volatile, and this year should prove no different.

The Minnesota Twins are positioned well to qualify for the post-season for the fourth time in the past six years, but to maintain or increase their division lead on the Cleveland Guardians and Chicago White Sox they want to strengthen the bullpen.

Twins president of baseball operations Derek Falvey said over the weekend Minnesota has “had a lot of conversations with a lot of teams” so far this year but suggested he expects the market to remain relatively quiet until closer to the deadline.

Minnesota certainly won’t be the only team aiming to improve the bullpen. The Toronto Blue Jays are among the teams also expected to seek improve relief pitching like the video at the top of the page suggests.

“There are a lot of teams trying to flesh out the market,” Falvey told The Athletic. “Are teams in it? Are teams not in it? Have they had the chance to really talk through that? When you’re on the buy side of that, sometimes you have to wait for the sellers to make their final determination about whether they’re ready to go.”

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