Yankees listed as a fit for slugging first baseman, but it would be a mistake

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As the trade deadline approaches in late July, the New York Yankees are on the lookout for vital reinforcements to bolster their roster, particularly focusing on the bullpen and infield positions.

Infield Enhancements on the Radar

Recent discussions have spotlighted Chicago White Sox first baseman Andrew Vaughn as a potential addition to the Yankees’ lineup. Mark Feinsand of MLB.com considers the 26-year-old a suitable match for the Yankees.

Vaughn, who remains under team control through arbitration until 2027, is currently batting .239/.290/.386 this season, with nine home runs and 34 RBIs. Despite a relatively high strikeout rate of 22.5% and a low walk rate of 5.8%, his weighted runs created plus (wRC+) stands at 91.

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Evaluating Vaughn’s Suitability for the Yankees

Vaughn’s past performance suggests slightly above-average capabilities, with his best season occurring in 2022, where he played 134 games, batted .271 with a .321 on-base percentage, and hit 17 home runs. Although the Yankees would ideally prefer a left-handed bat at first base, Vaughn’s offensive metrics—ranking in the 76th percentile for average exit velocity and 71st percentile for hard-hit rate—demonstrate his above-average potential.

However, concerns arise with his defensive play. Vaughn has accumulated 2,077.1 innings at first base with disappointing defensive statistics, including -6 defensive runs saved and -14 outs above average. This profile raises questions about his fit with the Yankees, who prioritize at least average defensive skills and a bat with more upside.

Potential from Within: The Case for Ben Rice

Ben Rice, one of the Yankees’ top offensive prospects, has shown more promise than Vaughn in his initial appearances. With a handful of hits already, Rice merits further opportunities to adjust and prove his value. The coming month will be crucial for assessing his potential to serve as a long-term solution at first base.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees
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As the deadline draws closer, the Yankees will continue evaluating their options, but giving Rice a fair chance to establish himself might negate the need for immediate, aggressive moves in the market.

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