Thanks to shoulder surgery, the Yankees have lost Greg Bird for the 2016 season and now they must hope that Mark Teixeira has a healthy and productive year. Even if Bird wasn't going to be on the Opening Day roster, Tex's recent track record told us that he'd be needed eventually. With no other internal first baseman to to take Bird's place, the Yankees have apparently taken an interest in Ike Davis and are currently in the mix to sign him.
Davis, 29, was holding out for a major league deal, but with spring training just days away, it looks like he'll have to settle for a minor league contract. Davis started his career with the New York Mets, putting together three solid seasons from 2010 to 2012, and was looking like their first baseman of the future. Unfortunately, things fell apart for him and he was traded off to the Pirates in 2014. He signed on with the Oakland Athletics and had the worst season of his career in 2015, hitting just .229/.301/.350 with just three home runs over 74 games. Projected to make $3.8 million in his last year of arbitration before free agency, they decided to non-tender him in the offseason and make him a free agent.
Over his six seasons in the big leagues, he's shown the ability to be an above-average offensive player with inconsistent power. The problem with Davis is that he can't hit left-handed pitching to save his life. He has a career 122 wRC+ against righties, but only a 61 wRC+ against lefties. He also has no power against them as only 12 of his 81 career home runs have come against left-handers. He's also not rated too well on defense at first base, making him more of a liability on the field than anything else.
If the Yankees lose Teixeira during the season, Dustin Ackley would be expected to fill his role at first base. Davis sounds like someone that could serve as an effective platoon bat, but both he and Ackley are left-handed hitters. If, for whatever reason, it came down to calling up Davis, the Yankees would likely pursue a trade before having to rely on him. They're targeting him over Pedro Alvarez because Alvarez is still looking for an MLB deal, would be far more expensive, and would want regular playing time. Brian Cashman doesn't have to promise any of that to Davis. He's strictly Triple-A depth and will act as the starting first baseman for the Scranton-Wilkes/Barre RailRiders.