2016 statistics: 126 G, 464 PA, .225/.300/.484, 28 HR, 67 RBI, 105 wRC+, 1.4 WAR
Age on Opening Day 2017: 33
Brandon Moss has been rattling around the majors for nearly ten years now, but it is only recently that teams have found a use for him. Since 2012, he has played fairly regularly, splitting his time between first base and the corner outfield positions. Now that Brian McCann is gone, the Yankees have an opening for a bat, and Moss could help fill the hole left behind.
Heading into the 2017 season, the Yankees currently have an opening for a designated hitter, a right fielder, and could use an extra bat at first base. Moss would help fill each of those spots without requiring the type of contract that would give him dominion over any of them. At 33 years old, Moss is a role player and that is exactly what this team needs right now. Greg Bird will likely get the nod at first base, and Aaron Hicks and Aaron Judge will contribute in right field. All the Yankees really need is a power bat to make up for McCann’s home run total, which Moss should easily be able to do.
As good as he has been, it should be noted that he is incapable of hitting left-handed pitching. Teams should typically avoid bringing in platoon players, if they can help it, but his 114 wRC+ against righties will help make up for any imperfections. This team is in a unique position where Moss, and his capabilities, would actually fit well on this roster. They have Gary Sanchez, Judge, and Hicks to hit lefties, allowing Moss to compliment their strengths. Essentially, he would be used to create a multi-positional platoon wherever needed.
If the Yankees decide that Aaron Judge will start the year in the minors, Moss can split time in right with Hicks. He can also be used to backup first base or fill in as the designated hitter. Moss would basically serve as a left-handed compliment to the right-handed Tyler Austin. It’s still not certain if Austin can contribute regularly at the major league level, so if the Yankees determine they do not want to spend big on a DH, these two could share time there. Austin could also face tough lefties at first base if Bird doesn’t look up to the task, or play in the outfield as well.
In a perfect world the Yankees wouldn’t be constructing a roster filled with so many platoon batters, however, it’s really hard to say how competitive the team will be in 2017. Moss would represent a relatively affordable upgrade without requiring a multi-year deal. He’ll be a useful role player on a roster filled with them, and if nothing else, he could fetch another pretty prospect at the deadline to add to Brian Cashman’s already impressive collection. It’s somewhat unconventional, but it could work.