Cedric Mullins has a very unique story. After struggling as a hitter in the early stages of his career, he decided it was a good time to forego his switch hitting and become a full-time left-handed hitter before the 2021 season. Towards the end of the 2020 season, it seemed apparent to me that the Orioles had an extremely talented hitter on their hands. He had multiple quality at-bats from the left side against the Yankees that made me think, who is this dude?
He had pitched the idea to the Orioles back in 2019, but the team preferred he stuck with switch-hitting. It’s a great lesson for coaches everywhere — often, players know themselves better than anyone else. Anyways, fast forward to today and the Orioles have a great, five-tool players on their hands who they absolutely should hold onto tight. However, it’s hard to know what this franchise’s plan is at this point.
Word has gotten out that the Orioles would listen on star CF Cedric Mullins, and teams are lining up to give it a shot knowing it’s a long shot. Asking price is understandably extremely high. All these teams (and more) could use a CF: Philly, Rangers, Astros, Giants, Mets, Yanks.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 26, 2021
I think this is just Mike Elias and his team doing due diligence, but it’s also possible they could seriously entertain moving Mullins for a massive prospect passage to support their other prospects knocking on the door to the bigs. Of the teams Heyman mentioned, the Yankees might be at the top of the list when it comes to needing a center fielder.
Let’s be clear here. If the Orioles chose to trade Mullins, it’d be a silly move. To trade him to the Yankees of all teams might be even sillier! Adley Rutschman is deserving of being on the 2022 opening day roster, and he needs at least a few other players to surround him. Mullins still has four years of team control and fits almost perfectly into Rutschman’s window. All that said, this is the Orioles. If they decide they want to take the chance siding with many prospects instead of keeping Mullins, then I’m sure the Yankees will be knocking on the door aggressively.
The two teams agreed to a deal for Zack Britton, perhaps the best Orioles pitcher in the last 15 years, so who is to say Cedric Mullins is off the table? The case for the Yankees trading for Mullins is pretty obvious: he just posted a five-win season in his breakout year, is an athletic left-handed hitter, and can glove it in center field. As I said earlier, he also has four seasons of control. While it’s unclear what arbitration and team control will look like in the next CBA, it’s still clear Mullins would provide the Yankees with significant roster flexibility for at least a few seasons.
As it currently stands, the Yankees outfield looks suspect following 2022. The odds are in favor of Aaron Judge sticking around, but Aaron Hicks is not a long-term solution despite his contract, and Joey Gallo’s fate will lie heavily on his 2022 performance. Shoring up the outfield with a team-controlled player like Mullins is a no brainer. It’s obviously going to take blue chip prospects, but as I’ve said before, anybody not named Anthony Volpe should be included in a deal for a player like Mullins.
I’m imaging a world where it’s 2025 and the Yankees have one of the best outfields in baseball supported by a long-time veteran in Aaron Judge, a rising star in Jasson Dominguez, and a player scooped by the Yankees in Cedric Mullins. Call me crazy, but that’s the kind of outfield that can take you to the World Series. I know I know, this is probably a pipe dream, but it can’t be ruled out that Brian Cashman has the same vision.