Yankees Rumors: Could NYY chase Red Sox first base target after DJ LeMahieu injury?

He'd make sense...
Miami Marlins v Chicago Cubs - Game One
Miami Marlins v Chicago Cubs - Game One / Nuccio DiNuzzo/GettyImages

The New York Yankees' starting first baseman has scuffled with the bat since suffering a dangerous-at-first-blush concussion in late May 2023, then playing through it. His slowed reaction time has been worrisome to witness (though the home runs the past few days have been a nice panacea).

Their backup first baseman? He's a third baseman, and he just shut down an abbreviated rehab assignment after suffering from recurring foot pain.

The Yankees, it seemed, entered 2024 with the most "intentional" bench they'd put together in years, thanks to the addition of Trent Grisham and the last-second trade for Jon Berti. Instead of running out two or three failed prospects or Quad-A players without options, they brought in genuine big-league talent and players who filled holes.

Three weeks later? Grisham doesn't have a hit this season in sparse playing time, Berti's out, and Jahmai Jones, Kevin Smith, and Taylor Trammell have all occupied spots. None of those people play first base.

Could the Yankees opt for a genuine backup first baseman instead of trying to shoehorn DJ LeMahieu in there, who might never be coming back in the first place? Brian Cashman admitted this week that he feels shorthanded in that regard, but doesn't seem keen on pursuing an immediate solution.

According to Cashman's recent comments to The Athletic, it seems likely the Yankees would rather ride it out with their current, limited bench rather than make a move. But former Yankee (and recently DFA'd Cub) Garrett Cooper was mentioned specifically as an inexpensive backup option (and, if we're being honest, would probably be a better fit than wedging LeMahieu in there). Cooper's also a clear Red Sox target, in the wake of Triston Casas' injury; the two sides talked this spring about a minor-league deal, but couldn't come together on figures.

Yankees Rumors: New York probably will "gut it out" until Jon Berti returns without signing bench piece

Yes, even though Berti doesn't exactly qualify as a backup first baseman, no matter how quickly he returns.

While both TJ Rumfield (first base) and Caleb Durbin (everywhere) are performing like players who could be infield backup options, that seems unlikely, too; Cashman prizes keeping his current 40-man roster intact until he absolutely has to make alterations (which will occur when some 60-Day IL trips, like Lou Trivino and Gerrit Cole, hopefully expire).

It seems like Boston, a surprisingly frisky April team despite myriad injuries, will plug their long-term gap with Cooper or CJ Cron, both of whom flitted around the Red Sox before the season began. The Yankees? They'd better hope Rizzo holds up. Otherwise, it seems like Rumfield or Ben Rice will have to head to the Bronx, which Cashman certainly does not want to happen prematurely.