Despite bolstering their corner infield mix with the recent addition of Todd Frazier, the Yankees remain open to considering upgrades at first base, according to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand (via Twitter).
Currently, the club is utilizing Chase Headley and new acquisition Garrett Cooper at first, with Greg Bird perhaps still representing a late-season possibility. That’s hardly an ideal unit: Headley’s bat barely played at third, which he ceded to Frazier, while Cooper is an unheralded prospect (albeit one who posted a breakout season at Triple-A) who’s testing the majors for the first time. Still, per Feinsand, the team will stick with that if it can’t get what it’s looking for at a reasonable cost.
While the Yanks surely won’t want to surrender too much more in prospect capital to get a deal done, the team is still in an enviable position in terms of leverage. Few other plausible contenders can really use a first base-only bat, so clubs looking to move assets won’t have many other places to turn.
It seems reasonable, then, to anticipate that the Yankees will look first to the rental market. Yonder Alonso of the Athletics and Lucas Duda of the Mets are clearly the two best options there; the Yankees have reportedly inquired on both at various points this summer.
That said, it’s possible that New York could at least consider a longer-term option. While Bird is viewed as the future first baseman, the team did see cause to supplement him over the winter with the since-departed Chris Carter even after adding Matt Holliday to serve as the designated hitter. With Holliday set to return to the open market, there’s all the more room for another bat — particularly one of the left-handed variety.
Let’s turn back to the overall first base market, then. Matt Adams of the Braves could be a player of interest, though Atlanta is sending signs it doesn’t want to trade him. Justin Bour of the Marlins and Brandon Belt of the Giants are quality lefty bats, too, though both come with lengthier control rights and are not clearly being marketed at present. In truth, these are but a few of the possibilities, and a more significant addition is of dubious plausibility at this stage.