The Hot Stove isn’t officially lit yet, but there’s already some crazy rumors consuming Yankees Universe. Buster Olney of ESPN tweeted the Yankees would be a perfect fit for current Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, who has a pending $14.5 million team option for 2019 and will be a free agent thereafter.
The Yankees had a blackhole at first base since Mark Teixeira retired and Greg Bird missed the entirety of the 2016 season. From 2016 to 2018, the Yankees are 27th out of the 30 MLB teams with just 1.9 fWAR generated from first base. They’ve hit .234/.314/.403 (91 wRC+) in 823 games in that time, and that includes Luke Voit‘s heroic .344/.416/.730 (207 wRC+) in 122 at-bats as a first baseman in 2018. Guess how much fWAR he put up: 1.9. Voit has been basically the entirety of the Yankees first base production for three entire seasons.
Goldschmidt is just about as elite as they come at any position. His 15.3 fWAR is second to only Freddie Freeman‘s 15.8 in the same 2016-2018 span in the whole of Major League Baseball. He started off slowly in 2018, hitting just .209/.326/.393 through the end of May (with a tough .288 BABIP and 30.9% strikeout rate). But, he rebounded to finish the season at .290/.389/.533 (144 wRC+). By average, it was his worst season since 2012 but he finished with a 2% stronger overall offensive season by wRC+.
Figuring out a trade for Goldschmidt would be quite interesting, and of course, assumes the Diamondbacks will pick up his option. I would have to think they’d be crazy to decline that option and let him go for nothing. At $14.5 million, he’s a cheap player who puts up approximately $42 million worth of production per season per Fangraphs’ Dollars statistic.
GM Brian Cashman, of course, has dealt with the Diamondbacks many times before. Didi Gregorius came from Arizona for Shane Greene, and the short-lived Brandon Drury era was born from another three-team deal.
Goldschmidt is essentially a more consistent and proven version of Luke Voit, who can bring above-average defense as well. It seems the Diamondbacks could shop Goldschmidt to contenders looking for a consistent first base presence. If Cashman can somehow throw together a package of pending Rule 5 guys, I think it’s a no-brainer.