Report: Yankees eyeing Mike Moustakas for first base
According to a report Friday by MLB.com's Jon Morosi, the Yankees have shown interest in acquiring Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas, with the goal of slotting him across the diamond at first base.
As Morosi points out, the Yankees' collective .657 OPS at first base ranks 29th in baseball.
"The Yankees' overall priority remains acquiring a starting pitcher, but the team also has explored infield upgrades in recent weeks," Morosi reports.
Greg Bird enters this weekend with five homers, nine RBIs and a slash line of .200/.306/.419, while veteran Neil Walker sports a line of .188/.268/.259 to go with two homers and 15 RBIs.
Brandon Drury is another option for New York at first base, but the combination of those three players may not be enough to keep the Yankees offense humming at full capacity as they continue to butt heads with the Red Sox, the only team currently with a better win percentage (.670) than the Yankees (.667).
Financially, adding Moustakas while remaining financially flexible is very feasible for New York. "Moustakas signed a one-year, $6.5 million deal prior to this season, meaning the Yankees could acquire his entire contract and likely still have room under the $197 million luxury-tax threshold to add J.A. Happ or a similarly priced starter," Morosi explains.
The 29-year-old Moustakas has played 918 career games over eight seasons in Kansas City, but just two of those as a first baseman, both within the last month of this season (June 9 and 10). In 82 games this year, "Moose" has slashed .258/.312/.472 with 16 homers and 53 RBI, along with an OPS+ of 114.
If a deal were to be made to bring Moustakas to the Bronx, it seems likely that Neil Walker would become the expendable member of the team's first base picture, making him a strong candidate to be included with whichever prospect(s) end up in the package headed back to the Royals.
Though the Yankees maintain full confidence in Greg Bird's long-term future as the everyday first baseman, Friday's report surrounding Moustakas adds a new layer of intrigue to what the Bombers may be considering in the short term.
As every Yankees fan is well-aware, anything short of a World Series title will be considered a disappointing end to what has already been a memorable season in the Bronx.
Stay tuned for the latest news and developments as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaches.