The New York Yankees learned that first baseman Greg Bird will miss six-to-eight weeks after undergoing ankle surgery. Should the Milwaukee Brewers look to trade a first baseman to the Yankees in the next few days?
The New York Yankees are currently set to open the season with Neil Walker or Tyler Austin at first base. For a team that may have to win over 100 games to win the division, that’s not ideal. Could the Yankees look to make a deal for one of the first basemen on the Milwaukee Brewers roster?
How long is Greg Bird out for?
Greg Bird is going to miss six-to-eight weeks due to a bone spur in his right ankle that requires surgery to remove. There’s a non-zero chance that he doesn’t make it back into the lineup before July.
If there’s a deal, who goes?
The Milwaukee Brewers want to start the season with a platoon of Eric Thames and Ryan Braun at first base. Thames would get the majority of at bats against right-handers, while Braun would slide from left field to first against lefties. However, the Brewers also have Jesus Aguilar and Ji-man Choi on the roster.
Choi is almost assured of a spot in Triple-A if he doesn’t make the Opening Day roster. The Brewers would like to keep Aguilar, but he doesn’t really have a path to every day at-bats in Milwaukee.
Braun isn’t going anywhere, even to the Yankees. That leaves Thames, Aguilar, and Choi as possible trade targets.
Who would the Yankees prefer?
They have to prefer Thames or Aguilar, right? Both have produced at the Major League level, and neither is cost prohibitive.
Thames broke out with a .247/.359/.518 slash line in 551 plate appearances last year. He’s signed through 2019 for $11 million total plus he has a player option in 2020 for $7.5 million.
Aguilar went .265/.331/.505 in 311 plate appearances last year. He’s signed for $557,000 and has another year of team control next year. Aguilar is also out of options.
What would a deal look like?
If it’s Thames, the Yankees would have to part with a real prospect or two. If it’s Aguilar, the Milwaukee Brewers won’t get much in return. He’s out of options, and all the Yankees have to do is wait until the Brewers DFA Aguilar, and then hope that no one else claims him. They could also work out a trade to avoid fighting other teams for Aguilar, and anything coming back would be a win for the Brewers.
Teams have to set their 25-man roster by Thursday morning. If there’s a deal in the works, we’ll know by then. It’s unfortunate that Bird has to miss the start of another season with an ankle injury, but this could solve the glut of first basemen that the Brewers have. If only they could find a home for Keon Broxton….