Why it's crucial Yankees deal for outfielder before 2021 MLB trade deadline

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Starling Marte in Marlins white uniform
Starling Marte in Marlins white uniform

On Sunday night in the Bronx against the Boston Red Sox, the Yankees’ outfield alignment was as follows: Ryan LaMarre in left field, Greg Allen in center and Trey Amburgey making his major league debut in right.

Between the three of them, 347 big league games were played entering the night, which is just about two full seasons.

Then, Amburgey had to leave the game after trying to beat out a groundball and hurting his hamstring. That forced Brett Gardner, who is having a brutal year at the dish, into center field and LaMarre to right. And the first ball LaMarre saw – a Christian Vazquez rocket off the wall for double – was close to forcing him out after he crashed into the padding trying to make a play.

Are you catching my drift at all here? If not, let me give it to you straight: The Yankees desperately need outfield help if they wish to salvage their 2021 campaign.

Two weeks are left before the July 30 trade deadline, and according to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, the Yankees are in on virtually any outfielder on the market. So GM Brian Cashman & Co. understand the urgency, though you don’t need your contacts in to see it too.

Even if the Yankees were healthy in the outfield right now – Aaron Judge is out due to COVID-19 protocols, and Clint Frazier and Miguel Andujar are both on the IL – only one of those names has been consistently productive this season. And the Yankees still seem reluctant to put Giancarlo Stanton back out there, as he’s barely running out groundballs at this point to avoid another injury setback.

Who can the Yankees target that could make an immediate impact? Starling Marte, the 32-year-old veteran, declined an offer for an extension with the Miami Marlins, so they could look to trade him before the deadline instead of letting him walk into free agency at the end of the year.

He’s been slashing .285/.387/.444 with seven homers and 22 RBI and would quickly become the Yanks’ starting center fielder if dealt for. The cost shouldn’t hurt the prospect pool either, as he isn’t under team control at the end of the year.

If the Yankees don’t want another righty bat in the lineup, maybe Texas Rangers OF Joey Gallo could be a fit. His power stroke is destined for the short porch in right and he can play left field or right depending on when Judge is in the lineup or not. A two-time All-Star at 27 years old would certainly cost more than Marte.

And then there’s Mitch Haniger, the Seattle Mariner who has belted 22 homers and drove in 58 RBI over 89 games thus far. He’s played most right field, but again, he has left and center field experience so versatility will work.

Some other options like Byron Buxton on the Minnesota Twins and All-Star Bryan Reynolds with the Pittsburgh Pirates could possibly be in the mix. But the Yankees need to make a move before one more injury has them needing more Triple-A call-ups.

You may be asking, ‘Why make a move if they’re not going to make the playoffs this season anyway?.’ To that, I say you need to look at the certain setup of the Yanks’ outfield and see that Gardner is likely not returning after this season, Aaron Hicks is injury-prone, and in his first season being given a starting role, Frazier has not stepped up to the plate (no pun intended).

So a trade wouldn’t just help immediately, but it could develop into a longer-term situation depending on who is brought in.

Whoever it might be, there needs to be someone that Cashman make a deal for because outfielders are dropping like flies and their production just hasn’t been good albeit an All-Star Judge performance.