To the dismay of many fans, it was first reported that the Yankees were not looking into signing top free agent Bryce Harper. However, Dan Federico of Bronx to Bushville has reported that the 2015 NL MVP may very well wear the pinstripes in 2019, but as a first baseman.
Harper, 26, endured a “down” season in 2018, but still managed to smash 34 homers and post a .393 OBP with a 135 wRC+. Despite never once playing first base in the big leagues, it’s arguable that he would be the premiere of the position if the move does happen. Harper is likely headed for a payday of at least a $30M per year, and some projections even see the six-time all-star reaching a deal over 10 years/$400M.
Although just a report, this news shouldn’t be seen as all that surprising as the Yankees have struggled massively at the first base position over the past several seasons. Federico also mentions in his tweet that the Yankees aren’t too sold on Luke Voit who “could be a September fluke” while also not having much faith in Greg Bird who slashed just .199/.286/.386 in another failure of a season.
Source: The Yankees have expressed interest in Bryce Harper as a first baseman. They have reached out to Nationals execs about his makeup and willingness to move positions. Aren’t completely sold on Voit (“could be a September fluke”), lost a lot of hope in Bird
— Dan Federico (@DanJFederico) November 5, 2018
Now, it’s not yet known whether or not a switch from the outfield to first would even happen, but it’s hard not to salivate at the thought of the left-handed bat of Harper slotting into the Yankees’ lineup every day.
Despite breaking the single-season record for a team in the home run department with 267, the Yankees showed a clear vulnerability: A lack of pop from the left side. With the likes of Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Gary Sanchez, and many other right-handed bats, a balanced lineup was mostly non-existent for the Bombers in 2018.
Especially with the loss of Didi Gregorius for the majority of the 2019 campaign, the Yankees are set to field an even more right-handed heavy starting nine. That being said, the impact of the inclusion of a lethal bat like Harper doesn’t need to be stated.