With news that Mark Teixeira will undergo season-ending surgery on his wrist after the tendon sheath failed to adequately heal, the Yankees have to make some decisions about how they will deal with the first base job for the remainder of the season. With the trade deadline nearly a month away, the team should be looking for upgrades beyond Lyle Overbay if they hope to be competitive for a playoff spot in 2013.
The easiest move would be to let Overbay man first base for the rest of the season. He hasn't been the weakest offensive link on the team and plays good defense, which is underrated at the position. The problem is that, despite having not been the weakest of offensive links, Overbay has still been pretty weak. In 67 game for the Yankees this year, Overbay has a 90 wRC+ and a .239/.282/.429 batting line to go with eight home runs. The sub-.300 on-base percentage is particularly tough to stomach, and may even get worse if you think that he started the season hitting better than he could sustain.
In-house options to replace Teixeira aren't all that promising, either. Dan Johnson plays first base for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and he has a 114 wRC+ with eight homers in 72 games. Johnson's .238 batting average is nothing to write home about, but he does work walks well. He's drawn 53 free passes so far this season. Kyle Roller is the first baseman at the Double-A level for the Yankees, and he has a 129 wRC+ in 72 games this season. Roller's .277/.364/.466 line with ten home runs looks the best of these three options on paper, but it is coming against a lower level of talent than Overbay's or Johnson's. Second baseman Corban Joseph took a few reps at first base earlier this season, but he is currently on the disabled list with the RailRiders.
That leaves the trade market. The Yankees would only need to look for a short-term stopgap to get them through the rest of the season. A player like that shouldn't command too much in terms of cost, because teams out of contention will be shedding their spare parts. Jason wrote a post about potential trade targets that you can read here, and Andrew will have a post up at 4:30 about some other places the Yankees can look to around MLB to boost offensive production at first base.
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