The Yankees' pitching staff features talent and could bounce back in 2024 if injuries don't overtake the rotation again. Meanwhile, New York's bullpen has displayed signs of promise this season. The primary concern, which is surprising for a team nicknamed the “Bronx Bombers”, has been the offense.
Aside from Aaron Judge, who missed time due to injury in 2023, the Yankees' lineup has struggled mightily. They aren't finding ways to score runs and it's clear they either need to hit the reset button or add quickly. For the purpose of this article, we are going to assume the Yankees will return to their aggressive strategy in free agency and add two valuable offensive weapons.
Let's begin with a player whom New York was linked to prior to the trade deadline.
OF/1B Cody Bellinger
Cody Bellinger won an MVP award with the Los Angeles Dodgers. His career then began trending in a downward direction after suffering an injury. LA ultimately released Bellinger following the 2022 campaign. He ended up signing a one-year contract with the Chicago Cubs and has certainly made the most of the opportunity.
It should be noted that Bellinger and the Cubs have a mutual club option for 2024. Given Bellinger's performance, though, he will probably test free agency. He's currently slashing an impressive .316/.362/.535 with an .897 OPS and 20 home runs across 102 games played. Although Bellinger won't win another MVP in 2023, he's playing extremely well once again.
His performance will lead to plenty of interest in free agency. At just 28-years old, the Yankees make sense as a perfect destination. They need outfield help and Bellinger offers value on both defense and offense. The Yankees haven't been quite as aggressive in free agency over the past couple of years, but the team should take a chance on Cody Bellinger.
3B Matt Chapman
Bellinger was an obvious candidate to be listed in this article. Matt Chapman hasn't been mentioned as an option for the Yankees quite as often. Still, a Chapman-Yankees contract would make sense.
He will turn 31-years old early during the 2024 season. The Yankees' luck with veterans in recent seasons hasn't been great. But Chapman is still fairly young when it comes to veterans and is another player who offers upside on both offense and defense.
Chapman's always been known for his elite prowess at the hot corner. It took him a while to truly find his rhythm at the plate. That said, he's clubbed exactly 27 home runs over the past two seasons. In 2023, Chapman has 15 home runs to go along with a .248/.338/.431 slash line and .769 OPS. With Josh Donaldson recently being released, adding a productive third baseman who can handle the hot corner for years to come would be a great move for the Yankees.
The Yankees aren't a terrible team despite their record. New York is a few key pieces away from jumping back into contention. Adding Bellinger and Chapman to their Aaron Judge-led lineup could provide the ball club with the spark it needs.
If the Yankees can find a way to avoid injuries and make these signings come to fruition, fans can expect a bounce back 2024 season.