The Yankees have 4 big-time bats they could acquire at the deadline to reinforce first base

Apr 30, 2024; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (20) against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports, yankees
Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

As the end of July approaches in a few weeks, Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman is poised to be aggressive in upgrading the roster to address several key areas of weakness. Currently, the most glaring issues are at first base and third base.

The Yankees have recently promoted prospect Ben Rice to help resolve their first base dilemma. Rice has performed solidly in a limited number of appearances. Ideally, the team hopes Rice will continue to develop rapidly into a reliable contributor this season, particularly by enhancing his batting and maintaining at least average defensive skills at first base.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees
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Despite Rice’s potential, the Yankees are considering adding more seasoned players at the deadline, targeting various candidates on expiring contracts who could significantly enhance their deep playoff aspirations. Here’s a look at four potential first basemen who might fit the Yankees’ needs if Cashman decides to make a move.

Targeting Talent: Four First Basemen who Could be on the Yankees’ Radar

1.) Pete Alonso

The Mets would hate to trade Peter Alonso to the Yankees, but if it means getting prospects in return with the anticipation that Alonso walks in free agency anyway, it may be in their best interest.

The 29-year-old is in the final year of arbitration, earning $20.5 million. This season, he’s hitting .241/.323/.469, smashing 16 homers with 42 RBIs, a 20.5% strikeout rate, and a 9.4% walk rate. While he’s not a high batting average player for the most part, Alonso can hit home runs at a brisk pace and would certainly be an asset for the Yankees, especially with Anthony Rizzo dealing with a fractured right arm. The issue is that the Bombers prefer a lefty at the position, and Alonso is a righty, but given his power metrics, they likely wouldn’t make a big deal of it.

MLB: San Diego Padres at New York Mets, yankees
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The problem lies in the haul the Yankees would have to give in return for Alonso, who is highly regarded by the Mets and could end up signing an extension there in free agency anyway. The Yankees would have to know it would be a rental, but if he’s the missing piece to a World Series, it might be worth the risk.

2.) Christian Walker

An alternative option would be Christian Walker, a 33-year-old heading into free agency. The right-handed batter currently plays for the Arizona Diamondbacks, who are struggling this season. He’s hitting .252/.328/.473, including 17 homers and 50 RBIs.

Traditionally, Walker is a solid defensive player and an above-average offensive player. He would make the Yankees arguably even better than if they acquired Alonso, and given Walker’s age, he might be a bit more affordable.

This season, Walker ranks in the 95th percentile in fielding run value and 96th percentile in barrel percentage. He makes great contact and would add a tremendous bat to the heart of the lineup.

3.) Paul Goldschmidt

Another option could be 36-year-old Paul Goldschmidt of the St. Louis Cardinals. The veteran is hitting just .231 with a .299 OBP this season, including 10 homers and 31 RBIs.

Goldschmidt has been fantastic for almost 13 years, but he’s experiencing progression this year due to age, most likely. He’s a bit spotty defensively, but when his bat is alive, he represents one of the most prolific offensive first basemen in the game. He’s only two years removed from a 176 wRC+, hitting .317 with a .404 OBP and 35 homers. If the Yankees feel he has a bit of gas left in the tank and they won’t have to give up much in return, he could be a perfect alternative.

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Miami Marlins
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Ultimately, it depends on what the Cardinals want in return, and it certainly might be a risk for the Yankees due to his regression this season.

4.) Josh Bell

The worst option of the bunch is Josh Bell, who is now 31 years old and playing for the Miami Marlins. He’s having a decent season, hitting .246/.309/.381, including eight homers and 33 RBIs. With a strikeout rate below 19% and having hit 22 homers last season, he could be a much more affordable trade target, and considering he’s a switch hitter, the Yankees may benefit from that.

The problem is that Bell is simply a bad defensive player, hosting -8 defensive runs saved and -5 outs above average. The Yanks don’t necessarily want to add a liability at first base to the equation, so Bell would likely be the last option of the bunch, even though he’s having a better season than Goldschmidt.ChatGPT

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