Making the Move: Eric Duncan

Since the day the Yankees landed Alex Rodriguez, people questioned the future of top prospect, Eric Duncan. But, even after a near trade, the organization is now thinking about what Duncan could be for the Bronx Bombers. The day has come and the Yankees have set their plan in motion for Eric Duncan. <b>(Free Preview of Premium Content)</b>

It has been speculated for some time that this day would come. It would be the day that the Yankees began to take the initiative towards their future. Rather than grooming star prospects simply for the benefit of making good trade fodders for veteran stars, the Yankees appear intrigued by Eric Duncan for different reasons. Although he is by no means safe from a possible trade, the Bombers have recently opened the possibility of Duncan becoming their first baseman of the future.

Of course everyone remembers the Randy Johnson fiasco of the recent past. Perhaps the most unusual scenario was just how close top prospect, Eric Duncan came to wearing Dodger blue. But, that is just the way of the Yankees, top prospect or not. So, for the lefty swinging Duncan, its all part of the business. "When the rumors were circulating about me being part of the Randy Johnson trade, there was a positive and negative," Duncan tells "While I would have liked to stay with the Yanks, I still would have been playing baseball for a living if I was traded, and it can't be any better than that." In Yankeeland, this goes with the territory.

Despite being only a stroke of the pen from being shipped out, the Yankees were more than thrilled to keep this future star around. The top prospect once again showed why he is out of the perfect Yankee mold, showing up to spring training over a month early. Were there other reasons for that other than Duncan's strong work ethic? Well, you can draw your own conclusions. But, we recently discovered what his primary focus has been since he arrived in Tampa. First base. Before anyone jumps to any more conclusions though, let it be known that it will not be an abrupt switch. "Right now, I'm just working out at first," says Duncan. "I am not making a full time switch just yet. The organization just wants me to get a feel for it and be more prepared for it when they may need me to play there."

So, if anyone thought this was when Eric Duncan took on the untouchable status of such rare prospects, you'd be wrong. But, one thing's for sure, the Yankees have taken a major stride in that direction. Why? Well, what it boils down to is that the only reason Duncan would move to first base is for the Yankees to plan on him being their eventual long term answer at that spot. However, to retain his trade value, he will continue to play third base in 2005 with a possibility of some time at first here and there. "I'll still be a third baseman for 2005 but they just wanted to give me a dose of it this year since I am down here early," said Duncan. "It just gives me some flexibility for the future. But for now, I'm still a third baseman."

No matter what the fate of Duncan may be, the idea that he has even been working on first base, speaks volumes on how badly the Yankees really do wish to hang onto him. Besides, no one said their situation is exactly stable at that position right now. For Duncan, the switch would be a huge step towards actually being a Bronx Bomber because he does notice that he is blocked at third base, to say the least. "If I play first base, they're hopefully going to hang onto me," said the sweet swinging New Jersey native. "I realize that as a third baseman, my chances are very slim of breaking in with the Yankees. But, with first base, it should be much more wide open. Looking at that, I don't mind the switch at all. By playing first, it is only going to help me become a Yankee."

To put things in a nutshell, Duncan will continue to play third base in 2005, but will also continue to work on his skills as a first baseman. He will need more time than just spring training to learn the position so perhaps he will make the total switch in 2006, barring any trades of course. But, as Duncan says, it isn't an easy switch. "It is going to be a tough transition," he explains. "It is nothing I can't handle but it seems like it is going to be more difficult than I thought. I mean, it is really like starting all new. I had never even taken a grounder at first base before. But, I'm starting to get a feel for it and I'm very excited about the possibilities it brings up for me." One of those possibilities is to not just be a part of a blockbuster trade, but to become part of the blueprint for the future of the New York Yankees.

Pinstripes Plus Top Stories