The Yankees clearly need to add a starting pitcher, but they shouldn’t ignore the benefits of acquiring a first baseman who can improve the lineup.
Improving the first base position isn’t Brian Cashman’s number one priority at the moment, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t on his list of things to do. Swinging a deal for Royals’ star Mike Moustakas might provide the Yankees just as much value as adding a new starting pitcher.
Per MLB.com, several teams are looking at the possibility of adding Moustakas to play first base ahead of the trade deadline. He currently plays third for the Royals, but that spot is taken by Miguel Andujar in the Bronx. He does fit the profile of someone whose defense would profile well at first.
That position has been a real weak spot in the Yankees lineup. Neither Neil Walker or Greg Bird have managed to produce at the plate this season. Bird has managed to up his average to .200 while Walker is still residing below the Mendoza line at .188. It’s safe to say Cashman and company would like to see more production from their spot in the order.
Lately, the team has been working to move Brandon Drury over to first. He’s a versatile player whose services may be needed more elsewhere. It’s also possible Drury could be one of the players moved ahead of the deadline in an effort to acquire a quality starting pitcher.
That’s why adding Moustakas would make so much sense. As a big, powerful, left-handed hitter he’s perfectly suited to excel at Yankee Stadium. He’d love the opportunity to take hacks at the short porch in right field. He already has 16 home runs this year and his production would almost certainly increase in the Yankee lineup.
The real question here is whether or not Cashman will be motivated to win the bidding war the Royals would like to produce for Moustakas’ services. Both the Cardinals and Phillies are also interested in making a deal with Kansas City. Their need to add Moustakas might lead them to make a bid superior to what the Yankees would feel comfortable offering.
If the market for Moustakas doesn’t develop, it makes a lot of sense for Cashman to swoop in. He would prove to be an immediate upgrade to the team’s offense. Many fans are focusing on correcting the team’s pitching weaknesses, but first base has been a weakness as well. If Moustakas can be acquired for a middling asset, it’s a deal the Yankees should make.