With the Yankees seemingly having a revolving door at first base over the past few years, trading for Josh Bell could solve all stability concerns.
After the retirement of Mark Teixeira in 2016, first base has been somewhat of a merry-go-round for the Yankees. The revolving door has featured a plethora of names such as Greg Bird, Chase Headley, Tyler Austin, Ji-Man Choi, Garrett Cooper, Chris Carter, Kendrys Morales, Edwin Encarnacion, and Luke Voit. Greg Bird was thought to be the answer after a breakout stint in his late-season call up in 2015, but Bird’s annual injuries have routinely derailed that hope. Bird missed the entire 2016 season due to shoulder surgery, and continued to hit a combined .186, with a .644 OPS, 21 HRS and 67 RBIs in a disappointing 140 games over the span of 2017-2019. Bird is no longer a part of the Yankees’ future as he was DFA’d this off-season and elected free agency.
Bird’s departure was, in large part, due to the emergence of fan-favorite Luke Voit, who came over the Chasen Shreve & Gio Gallegos deal in 2018. Voit has been an extremely pleasant surprise at the position since joining the Yankees and getting some consistent playing time. In his 157 games in pinstripes, he’s slashing .280/.371/.501, with 35 bombs and 95 RBIs. However, Voit’s strong presence at the dish should not prevent the Yankees from looking to improve.
The Yankees lineup has no glaring holes 1-9, but the heavy right-handedness may be something the Yankees brass will want to address. Assistant GM Mike Fishman has been on record mentioning the issue. “Our lineup is very right-handed. Ultimately, we are trying to find the best players. If it can balance the lineup, even better. It’s good to balance the lineup with another lefty’’ (NY Post). If the Yankees are truly committed to balancing out the lineup, breakout First baseman Josh Bell should be atop their wishlist.
With the proper package being shipped out, Bell, a slugging switch-hitter, could solve the bomber’s left-handed conflict. In 2019, Bell slashed .277/.367/.569, hitting 37 bombs and driving in 116 runs. Although Bell hits from both sides, Bell is much more accomplished from the left side, which would ultimately play well for the Yankees lineup. To check out some of Bell’s tape measure homers and some defensive highlights, click here.
Admittedly, Bell is not a huge upgrade over Voit defensively as neither is in line for a gold glove anytime soon, but at just 27 years old, Bell has shown many flashes of athleticism that could translate to significant improvement. He can also easily slot in as a DH when necessary.
Trade packages for Bell have been circulating the internet and have called for the Yankees to part with Miguel Andujar, Luke Voit, and top prospect Roansy Contreras. While acquiring Bell would lessen the need for Voit, I don’t see the Yankees moving him any time soon. He has shown the ability to be a middle of the order bat in a daunting Yankees lineup and he is beloved in New York. As for Andujar, he is coming off an injury-riddled 2019 season where he barely saw the field. If the Yankees want to move Andujar, they should wait until he is able to regain his value in Triple-A. I will note that Bell won’t be an absolute bargain, as he was an all-star last year, doesn’t command a heavy salary, and is under team control for 3 more seasons. A more ideal trade package would be:
- 1B Josh Bell
- RHP Albert Abreu
- 1B Dermis Garcia
- RHP Yoendrys Gomez
This package would allow the Pirates to bolster their farm system by bringing in two highly touted top 10 prospects from the Yankees system in Albert Abreu and Yoendrys Gomez, as well as an eventual Bell replacement in big 6’3 right-handed-hitting Dermis Garcia.
On the Yankees side, this move brings in the pop they are missing from the left side, and allows flexibility to potentially package Voit in a separate trade, perhaps for a certain lefty reliever…But in the meantime, the Yankees would throw out a lineup as such:
- DJ LeMahieu – 2B
- Aaron Judge – RF
- Josh Bell – 1B
- Giancarlo Stanton – LF
- Gleyber Torres – SS
- Gary Sanchez – C
- Aaron Hicks * (on IL to start season)
- Luke Voit – DH
- Gio Urshela – 3B
SP – Gerrit Cole
I feel sorry for the baseballs.