Whether the New York Yankees spend big or construct their roster with one eye on the luxury-tax threshold is one of the leading subplots of the offseason. On the "spend big" front, they're already known to be doing their due diligence on free agent infielder Manny Machado. As well, the other premium free agent, Bryce Harper, also seems to be a topic of discussion in the Bronx. On that front:
#Yankees have had internal discussions this offseason about possibility of signing Bryce Harper to play first base, but one source described that scenario as "unrealistic" -- at least, for now. Full story: https://t.co/eT7SMNRAI8 @MLBNetwork @MLB— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 20, 2018
While the "unrealistic" qualifier is duly noted, this one makes some sense. The Yankees have a fairly crowded outfield situation, what with Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Hicks, Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury and Clint Frazier already in the fold. Yes, Stanton figures to be the primary DH, but the point still holds. As for first base, Luke Voit seems ripe for regression, at least to some extent, and Greg Bird's health remains on ongoing concern. So enter Harper.
Harper is of course an outfielder, but earlier this offseason his agent Scott Boras indicated that his client was willing to entertain the idea of moving to first base. Theoretically at least, that improves his fit with the Yankees. On one level, Harper is the kind of player you make room for, and if that means reducing Gardner's role, then you do that. That said, first base seems like more of a concern for the Yankees.
While the leading focus in the Bronx seems to be on the rotation -- even after the trade for James Paxton -- they've got one eye on these two generational free agents, maybe even Harper as the long-sought post-Mark Teixeira solution at first base.