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Shortstop is the Yankees’ most pressing issue heading into next season, but the team also needs to determine who will start at first base.
The Yankees’ offseason plans are currently on pause due to labor strife, but that doesn’t mean Brian Cashman and his team don’t have plans to make. Identifying a starting first baseman for the 2022 season ranks high on New York’s offseason to-do list.
What the organization does at first is inevitably tied to what they do at the shortstop position. Specifically, spending big at either spot will likely force Cashman to look at budget options at the other. The Yankees have several potential high-priced options to consider at short, but fans shouldn’t rule out the idea that New York could opt to spend big at first base to find better value.
In a perfect world, the Yankees can find a left-handed slugger to man first and balance out their lineup. The first name on this list doesn’t check that box.
5. DJ LeMahieu
LeMahieu played 55 games at first base last year for the Yankees. The majority of those were filling in for Luke Voit during his time on the Injured List. The team’s front office should work hard not to deploy LeMahieu in that spot again next season.
Playing LeMahieu at such a low-value defensive position takes away so much of what he does well. The Yankees need to play him at second or third to really take advantage of his defensive talent. He doesn’t play first base particularly well. LeMahieu taking over at first for any extended period of time next year should only be an emergency option for Aaron Boone and his managerial staff.