Yankees Are ‘Potential Fit’ for ‘Intriguing’ $3 Million First Baseman

andrew vaughn

Getty The Yankees need to make an upgrade at first base before the trade deadline. Could Andrew Vaughn of the White Sox be an option?

Despite going 3-7 in their last 10 games, the New York Yankees are still one of baseball’s best teams thanks to a 52-28 record. But as the July 30 trade deadline continues creeping closer, the Bombers have an issue to address at first base. That’s especially the case with Anthony Rizzo now sidelined. Could Chicago White Sox first baseman Andrew Vaughn be the solution?

MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand discussed 13 top trade candidates and their potential fits on June 22. While making his points about Vaughn, he singled out three specific teams that could be a match for his services: the Yankees, the Houston Astros and the Seattle Mariners.

“Unlike [Paul] DeJong, Vaughn isn’t headed for free agency this offseason, so the White Sox might not be inclined to deal the 26-year-old,” Feinsand said. “But the first baseman could be one of Chicago’s most intriguing trade chips because Vaughn is earning $3.25 million this season and will be arbitration-eligible for two more years after 2024.”

Vaughn’s .681 OPS through 297 plate appearances is quite a bit lower than the .735 mark he produced through his first three big-league seasons. However, he’s also fresh off setting career-high marks in home runs (21) and RBI (80) in 2023.

Vaughn Has Recently Turned His Season Around

The White Sox weren’t expected to be a postseason contender heading into 2024. They wasted no time to make sure that was set in stone following a 3-21 start to the regular season. That puts them at the center of the trade deadline as a seller with some intriguing players potentially available. In addition to Vaughn, Garrett Crochet and Luis Robert Jr. have also seen their names churning through the rumor mill.

Vaughn’s season at the plate got off to a dreadful start. Through his first 34 games (137 plate appearances), the right-handed hitter slashed just .183/.241/.230 with six extra-base hits (all doubles), seven RBI and seven runs scored. He’s performed more like himself over the 38 games that followed. Vaughn hit .293/.338/.520 with nine homers, 28 RBI and 19 runs scored in 160 plate appearances.

Based on past situations, it’s probably undetermined whether Chicago will seriously make Vaughn available over the next few weeks. And it mostly has to do with his current contract status. As Feinsand noted, he’s earning just $3.25 million in 2024 and is under team control through 2026. White Sox general manager Chris Getz waited all winter to get the package he wanted in a Dylan Cease trade. Per The Athletic, opposing teams are also convinced Chicago isn’t in a rush to trade Robert. He has multiple years left to play on his current contract.

Acquiring Vaughn Could Be Huge for the Yankees in 2024 & Beyond

It’s not ridiculous to think there’s a decent chance Vaughn sticks around on the South Side until the winter. However, it would be a great idea for Yankees general manager Brian Cashman to try and pry him away from the White Sox.

Rizzo is expected to miss about two months with a fractured forearm. But even before that happened, rumors swirled about whether he’d get replaced by a trade deadline acquisition. Between this injury and his .630 OPS, it’s also looking more unlikely that New York will exercise his $17 million club option for 2025.

That’d mean the Yankees would likely be in the market for an established first baseman. New York Mets slugger Pete Alonso is a rumored option. It wouldn’t fit into the narrative that Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner wants his payroll to dip below $300 million soon, though. Acquiring someone like Vaughn could solve multiple issues. He’d provide an offensive boost to the club for 2024, while also giving Cashman an inexpensive option moving forward. And it would give the Yankees more financial flexibility in their expected Juan Soto pursuit.

Vaughn certainly seems to check multiple boxes for what the Bombers need right now. It remains to be seen how interested they are and if Chicago seriously makes him available.

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