First of all, this testifies to how shallow the Yankees’ roster is at first base. They have Mark Teixeira as the starter – and that’s about it. Honestly, it’s scary that Soriano, a converted outfielder who has never played the position, could potentially be the back up first baseman in 2014.
However, if Soriano can successfully learn how to play first base, it would be tremendously beneficial to the team by providing versatility. At the moment, Soriano is part of a four man outfield/DH platoon with Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran. Considering there is zero chance of these three players learning a different position, Soriano’s current status as the primary DH/fourth outfielder and the fact that he has played infield before, moving Soriano is actually not the worst idea in the world.
If Opening Day were tomorrow, Kelly Johnson would likely be the backup first baseman. However, he would also probably be the starting third baseman. It’s not good when your backup at one position is a questionable starter at another. Simply put, the Yankees need more options at the corner infield positions.
Eduardo Nunez could contribute at the hot corner which would allow Johnson to move across the diamond if Teixeira is DH-ing, needs a rest or gets hurt. Teaching Soriano first base would allow Teixeira the same reprieve while keeping Johnson (a much better defender than Nunez) at third. It could also keep Soriano’s bat in the lineup when Brian McCann DHs and Gardner, Ellsbury and Beltran patrol the outfield.
Simply put, teaching Soriano first base would make the team much more versatile which is always good. It may not sound viable, but it’s worth a shot.