New York Yankees

Yankees should monitor Mike Moustakas market

The Yankees need to make quality contingency plans in case Manny Machado heads elsewhere. Signing Mike Moustakas would be a great Plan B.

Everyone understands the collective eyes of the Yankees universe are glued to Manny Machado at the moment. The chance to sign a 26-year-old All-Star at a position of need is always captivating for a franchise that thrives on stars.

However, Brian Cashman and the team’s front office need to spend considerable time preparing for the possibility that Machado might not be coming to the Bronx.

In fairness to Cashman, signing Troy Tulowitzki was just this sort of move. Didi Gregorius’ elbow injury means the Yankees will need someone else to start the season at shortstop.

Tulowitzki has injury issues of his own, but he’s probably the highest ceiling option available to the Yankees at the minimum contract they used to secure the former MVP candidate.

That still doesn’t relieve the questions surrounding Miguel Andujar at third base. Assuming Machado isn’t coming to ultimately take over at the hot corner, the Yankees still need to be concerned about Andujar’s defensive deficiencies.

At the very least, Cashman needs to acquire a quality backup who can serve as a defensive replacement late in close games.

Mike Moustakas is significantly overqualified for that role, but he’s still someone the Yankees should be keeping close tabs on.

Unfortunately, recent reports from MLB.com don’t list the AL East powers as one of the teams planning to quickly move for Moustakas if Machado doesn’t head their way. That’s disappointing news for Yankees fans.

Keep in mind, Moustakas and his representatives are anxious to get a deal for their client. They are being forced to wait on Machado at the moment, but don’t be surprised if he signs within hours of the superstar’s decision.

That means he’s already lining up contingency offers. If the Yankees aren’t actively involved in those discussions already, it drastically reduces their chances of winning the race to sign the second best third baseman available on the open market.

Moustakas would also provide the organization with a solid contingency plan at first base. He’s played that position plenty in recent years, and no one can be sure the platoon of Greg Bird and Luke Voit is going to work out.

At the very least, having an established bat like Moustakas to insert into the mix at first would give Aaron Boone a lot more options as the season moves along.

The one credible argument to signing Moustakas is that the organization may prefer to wait until next offseason to make a big free agent move for a third baseman. Guys like Nolan Arenado and Anthony Rendon may be of more interest to Cashman.

Signing Moustakas to a lengthy deal could effectively rule the Yankees out on those superstars.

The easy answer for the organization would be to overpay Moustakas on another one-year deal. He’d certainly prefer a multi-year contract, but New York can use their financial might to their advantage.

He’s not in a position to turn down a contract that might pay him $15 million for the next year of his career.

Next: 5 Yankees who will exceed expectations in 2019

No matter how you look at it, the Yankees should be in on Moustakas. He fills too many gaps in the roster to ignore.

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