Bigger Need for Yankees: Pitching or First Base?
A report from Jon Paul Morosi of MLB Network on Saturday night placed a Yankees scout at the Royals game in which Mike Moustakas was playing first base for only the third time this season.
Before this year, Moustakas had only every played third base and DH. The occasional appearances at first are two-fold: yes, there is interest from teams like the Yankees who want to see how the eight-year veteran can handle the other corner infield position and prior to this season, Eric Hosmer had held down first base for Kansas City.
Moustakas is hitting .258 with 17 home runs and 55 runs batted in with a low strikeout total, 53 of them through 83 games. The Scott Boras client hit the open market last winter, but without any long-term, big money offers for the 29-year old, Moustakas returned to the Royals on a one-year deal. That qualifies Moustakas as a "rental" at the trade deadline which would suit the Yankees just fine as Miguel Andujar has a strong grip on third base and New York still has high hopes for what Greg Bird can become as an everyday first baseman.
Overall, Yankees first baseman in 2018 are slashing an ugly .198/.276/.377 with 14 home runs and 43 RBI in 85 games.
All of that said, should an attempted upgrade at first base be the Yankees' first focus at the trade deadline? Considering the struggles of Sonny Gray and the inconsistencies of every Yankees starting pitcher not named Luis Severino or CC Sabathia, how could Brian Cashman possibly ignore the need for a starter?