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MLB hot stove: Yankees targeted D-Backs’ Paul Goldschmidt before Paxton deal?

 

Yankees’ general manager Brian Cashman reaffirmed the franchise’s need for additional starting pitching by acquiring left-hander James Paxton from the Seattle Mariners on Monday.  But before that deal transpired, New York appeared to be inclined to ship its top-pitching prospect elsewhere. 

According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Yankees were reportedly “pushing” 22-year-old left-hander Justus Sheffield in trade discussions with the Arizona Diamondbacks for first baseman Paul Goldschmidt.  Of course, both clubs failed to reach any sort of agreement, as Sheffield ultimately became the headliner in a three-player package for Paxton. 

“Next year will be the last in a long-term deal Goldschmidt signed in 2013,” Olney said.  “As has been reported before, the Diamondbacks are open to dealing the first baseman — and, in the eyes of some rival evaluators, they are intent on moving him as they enter a period of rebuilding.”

Goldschmidt, 31, is a six-time All-Star who owns a .297/.398/.532 slash line across eight seasons with Arizona.  In 2018, he hit .290 with 33 home runs, 35 doubles, and 83 RBI in 690 plate appearances (158 games). 

While the right-hander is renowned for his sneaky power (209 career homers), Goldschmidt has hit at least 33 doubles in each of his last six seasons, and since 2012, he’s recorded 120 stolen bases on 152 total attempts.  If his offensive numbers aren’t enticing enough, Goldschmidt has also won three Gold Glove awards and owns a career WAR of 40.1.

Although Cashman remains adamant about obtaining further pitching this winter, it’s unclear if the Yankees are truly comfortable with their current options at first base.  Earlier this month, Cashman said that 27-year-old Luke Voit, who was a trade deadline spark plug for the Yankees this past season, will enter spring training as the team’s starting first baseman.  However, Cashman didn’t rule out the possibility of Greg Bird taking over at the corner bag once again.

“Obviously, we had a first baseman that we acquired late in the year that played really well for us.  He’s currently manning that position,” Cashman said.  “Voit will have a chance to reclaim his spot, or reinforce that that’s his spot.  And Bird will have a chance to try to take it from him.  We’ll see.”

Goldschmidt, who will earn $14.5 million in 2019, according to Spotrac.com, is eligible for free agency in 2020. 

 

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