The Curse of the First (Baseman) continued this afternoon, as it was announced that Chris Parmelee was heading to the disabled list. Parmelee is the fourth Yankees first baseman to hit the DL this season, joining Greg Bird (done for the year), Dustin Ackley (done for the year), and Mark Teixeira (possibly done for the year). As E.J. said last night, first has become the Yankees equivalent of the Defense Against the Dark Arts teaching gig.
As of this writing, there is no clear-cut front-runner for the position. Rob Refsnyder isn't hitting, and I don't see the Yankees making a dramatic move like moving Chase Headley or Brian McCann to first, and starting Ronald Torreyes or Austin Romine in their stead. This question, of course, perhaps foolishly infers that Nick Swisher is not a day or two away from the team's everyday lineup.
Swisher batted .204/.291/.326 (75 wRC+) between 2014 and 2015, and was unceremoniously released by the Braves this Spring. He is currently batting .238/.266/.339 (70 wRC+) in 177 PA with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and appears to be smuggling cement in his cleats. I have been a big fan of Swisher for quite some time, and still believe that the his acquisition was one of the best trades of the Cashman Era (if not the best) - but, put simply, he is no more than a replacement-level player at this point in his career ... and that may be generous.
Should the Yankees choose to take stock of their own system in lieu of looking outside of the organization, there are three players that deserve an audition at first base - Rob Refsnyder, Tyler Austin, and Gary Sanchez.
Refsnyder is already on the active roster, and he has nothing to prove in the minors (at least not offensively). He is a career .284/.366/.420 hitter in 1002 Triple-A plate appearances, and he's already 25-years-old. His carrying tool is his bat, and finding out if that bat is worth keeping around is worthwhile. Now is the perfect time to find out if Refsnyder has some value, whether it's with the Yankees or not.
Austin is a few months younger than Refsnyder, but it seems as though he has been around forever (he was drafted in 2010, after all). Within the span of three calendar years he went from a top-100 prospect to unprotected in the Rule 5 Draft, so his career has been rather tumultuous. That being said, he will be Rule 5 eligible again this off-season, and he has hit quite well between Double-A and Triple-A this year (.271/.372/.437 in 234 PA). The Yankees have invested so much time in Austin that it makes sense to see if there is something there before risking losing him for nothing once more.
And Sanchez does not need much of an explanation. He is hurt right now, which muddies the situation, but he has played a bit of first base between the Arizona Fall League, Spring Training, and instructs - and the bat would play there. Learning on the fly isn't ideal, but Sanchez offers the unique opportunity for the Yankees to potentially get better now, and develop their young talent.
There is no ideal situation here, short of Bird making a miraculous recovery or Teixeira coming back healthy and reinvigorated - but I can say with confidence that promoting Swisher may be the worst move the Yankees could make right now.