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Looking Ahead to the 2021 Yankees – My Approach To The Off-Season, Part 3(B): Looking at First

Over the last few weeks, I have opined on what I would do to build the 2021 Yankees.

In the previous installments of this series, I have made the following suggestions:

Keep Brian Cashman as the GM

Keep Aaron Boone as the manager, but hire an old sage as his bench coach

Not offer a contract to free agent D.J. LeMahieu

My previous post demonstrated that the team has too many right-handed hitters and that, historically, the Yankees have never won a World Championship without left-handed power.

I also took a look at the right-handed hitters in the lineup and determined who could be replaced for a left-handed bat and based on my examination of the players, determined that there are really only have a few who could be traded: Luke Voit, Clint Frazier, Gary Sanchez, and Miguel Andujar.

The big question is what would any (or all) of them bring back in a trade? I also made clear in that article that my plan for the 2021 Yankees involves trading for Francisco Lindor to play shortstop for the Bombers.

This would leave the Yankees with the following starting positional players:

1B – To Be Determined

2B – Gleyber Torres

SS – Francisco Lindor

3B – Gio Urshela

LF – To Be Determined

CF – Aaron Hicks

RF – Aaron Judge

DH – Giancarlo Stanton

C – To Be Determined

BENCH –

***

Looking At First Base:

The argument to trade Luke Voit is a simple one, his value may never be higher. (This is also the reason to not trade Miguel Andujar or Gary Sanchez – their value might be lower.) Voit is coming off a season where he led the league in home runs.

If Luke Voit were a left-handed batter, the Yankees would be all set at first. Unfortunately, he just adds to the collection of right-handed hitters.

But, if the Yankees were to jettison Voit, who could they get?

The first, easiest place to look is the free agent market. Indications are that it will be a buyer’s market.

The following name is intriguing:

Carlos SantanaHe was part of my off-season plan last year, but then batted just .199. Still, he averages 26 homers a year for every 162 games and he led the American league in walks last year. Of all the available first basemen on the Free Agent Market, his projected fWAR for 2021 ranks the highest at 1.6. (Voit is projected for an fWAR of 2.2, though.)

I like Santana, and if the Yankees picked him up to replace Luke Voit because he was traded in a Lindor trade or a trade for a pitcher, I’d be fine with it. But as the solution at first base, I think there has to be a better answer than Carlos Santana.

There are two players who might be available through the trade market:

Jeimer Candelario (Tigers) – A switch-hitter, he will be 27 next year and is seemingly just coming into his own. His fWAr is projected at 2.3. He was also play third base which would add to the Yankees’ flexibility.

Anthony Rizzo (Cubs) – A pure left-handed hitter, a team leader, a World Champion, and a player that should easily hit 25-30 homers for the Yankees. His 2021 fWAR is projected at 3.3. Would the Cubs be willing to deal him since 2021 is the last year of his contract?

And, that’s that. The pickings at first base are not many.

My off-season approach would be to see if the Cubs would be willing to talk about a Luke Voit for Anthony Rizzo trade. Obviously, those players would be the start of a bigger package, but they would be the headliners. In Voit, the Cubs would have a solid player who is younger and under contract longer. One can only imagine how many homers Voit would blast out of Wrigley Field.

I don’t think, in 2021, that Carlos Santana will perform any worse than Voit, but long term, if I’m the General Manager, I wouldn’t swap out Voit for Santana.

Finally, I can’t imagine that the Tigers would trade Jeimer Candelario. If they were willing, I’d jump at this in a nanosecond.

As I close this article, I am convincing myself that with Voit and a young arm, and maybe another prospect that Anthony Rizzo could be had.

Well, one can hope. Right?

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