$16 Million Slugger Could Be ‘Value Option’ for Yankees at 2024 Trade Deadline

aaron boone

Getty The Yankees might be looking to add more offense to manager Aaron Boone's roster at the deadline. Could Josh Bell be a target?

The New York Yankees may have dropped their series finale on May 26 against the San Diego Padres, but they’re still one of baseball’s best teams. They have a two-game lead over the Baltimore Orioles in the American League East off the strength of a 37-18 record. The Bombers will likely add at the July 30 trade deadline for the stretch run. Could their haul include landing Miami Marlins slugger Josh Bell?

Dylan Sanders of Sports Illustrated thinks it could be something for general manager Brian Cashman to pursue. Especially since Bell’s bat has caught fire after a slow start. The left-handed slugger is hitting .228/.311/.355 through 223 plate appearances in 2024. However, those numbers have jumped up to .296/.370/.457 in 92 May plate appearances.

Bell is in the second season of a two-year, $33 million deal and is currently making $16.5 million, per Spotrac. Between that and some inconsistent offensive production over the years, Sanders thinks it won’t take a lot for a team to pry him away from the Marlins, thus making him a “value option” for interested clubs.

Bell Was Linked to the Yankees Earlier This Season

Miami’s 6-24 start to 2024 made them clear early-season sellers. Meanwhile, New York has gotten inconsistent production from Anthony Rizzo through his first 221 trips to the plate (.697 OPS). Finding another bat with power who could play first base might not be a bad idea.

This isn’t the first time Bell has been linked to the Yankees this season. Bleacher Report’s Tim Kelly named the Bombers as one of Bell’s “ideal landing spots” on April 17. “Bell could also be a fit for the Yankees if Rizzo and/or Giancarlo Stanton don’t heat up,” Kelly said.

Through 187 plate appearances this season, Stanton’s OPS is up to .797 with 13 homers and 29 RBI. His performance has been trending up through two months of play. However, Rizzo’s monthly OPS has decreased between March/April (.737) and May (.636 in 90 plate appearances).

Getting Traded at the Deadline Would Be Nothing New for Bell

Being traded at any time is probably a weird experience for players. That weirdness likely skyrockets when it happens midseason. But for Bell, it’s something he’s gotten used to over the last couple of years.

He’s played for four teams since the start of 2022 and has been dealt at each of the last two deadlines. He went from the Washington Nationals to the Padres at the 2022 deadline. After signing with the Cleveland Guardians that winter, they sent him to the Marlins before the 2023 deadline.

His performance in each of these situations was incredibly different, too. He hit .301/.384/.493 with the Nats before landing in San Diego. He struggled there, slashing just .192/.316/.271. His production flipped the following year. He posted a .701 OPS with the Guardians, but that number jumped up to .818 with Miami down the stretch.

Could this be attributed to baseball being baseball, or did Bell learn a thing or two after getting traded for the first time in 2022? It’s hard to know, but the left-handed hitter might get another chance to prove one of these theories right this season. Wherever he ends up, he’ll likely need to find yet another new home before Opening Day in 2025.

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