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Yankees Should Prioritize Replacing Veteran First Baseman via Trade

The New York Yankees will be an intriguing team to watch as the trade deadline is fast approaching. They have the best record in the American League and they’ll look to make another move or two to help their postseason push. As for potential improvements, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic suggests how general manager Brian Cashman should approach the trade deadline. The Yankees could consider a major trade to upgrade the roster and there’s one position they should focus on.

“A rare opportunity is at hand. The trade deadline is seven weeks away. Difficult decisions await general manager Brian Cashman, the kinds of decisions that can take the Yankees from a mere World Series contender to a legitimate favorite. For a team in this position, even marginal improvements can make a massive difference.”

How the Yankees Should Apporach the Deadline

The areas requiring some improvements are first base, second base and the bullpen. But the one position facing the most scrutiny is at first base. Anthony Rizzo is in a tough stretch with his Baseball Savant page only showing one metric after another in the bottom 20 percent of the league.

“First baseman Anthony Rizzo’s struggles an issue. Second baseman Gleyber Torres is less than reliable defensively. Third baseman DJ LeMahieu needs to round into form after missing two months with a non-disciplined fracture in his right foot. And the bullpen, while performing well, could use some swing-and-miss.”

The only two explanations for Rizzo’s play are that his age is catching up to him very rapidly, or last season’s concussion is still impacting him. Rizzo is 1-for-29 in June and his .284 slugging percentage against starting pitching is the lowest in the majors. Since 2022 and his concussion-filled 2023 season, his .235 batting average against fastballs is the second-lowest. However, Rizzo is an important member of the Yankees clubhouse, and he’s close with teammate Aaron Judge. The Yankees must decide if they want to wait it out and see if he gets better.

Rosenthal did mention that the Yankees could move LeMahieu to first and play Oswaldo Cabrera at third, just like they did Sunday night. That plan would only make sense in the long term if LaMehieu turns it around. It may even be a stretch since Cabrera is more of a utility player.

A Trade for a First or Third Baseman is Likely

In a recent question and answer with Jim Bowden, Paul Goldschmidt was suggested as an option for New York. Bowden responded to a question about the Yankees potentially inquiring about a trade for the first baseman.

“I think it depends on how Goldschmidt performs between now and the trade deadline. If he shows over the next couple of months that he would be an upgrade over Rizzo or in a platoon with him, then I would consider it. He’s still a plus defender at first base, a leader in the clubhouse and a flat-out winner. I wouldn’t overpay for Goldschmidt, who will turn 37 in September, considering he’s a rental and the same age and decline issues as Rizzo. However, to deepen the lineup and protect against future injuries, it makes more sense.”

Goldschmidt was off to a slow start this season. He’s hitting .222 with seven home runs and 22 RBI. Those aren’t numbers many are used to seeing from the All-Star first baseman.

Main Photo: © Joe Puetz-USA TODAY Sports


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