Yankees utility man Tyler Wade can thank Aaron Boone alone for making the team. But loyalty shouldn’t last forever – when is it time to move on.
Wade has served in that capacity with no challenge for all of Boone’s three years with the Yankees. Over the span of his four seasons with the Yankees, Wade’s paltry offensive numbers look like this:
Even Wade’s much-touted speed on the basepaths shows only thirteen bases swiped.
Of concern to the Yankees, though, should be the lack of progress from day one up to and including Spring Training this year (.220 BA, .250 OBP).
For how long can the Yankees afford to carry a good-field no-hit utility player on their roster?
Yankees: Is Tyler Wade A Necessity Or A Luxury?
But wait a minute. Is Tyler Wade’s reputation as a good-fielding player all it’s hyped to be by Aaron Boone? The numbers say different.
Wade’s career fielding percentage of .981 puts him in the middle of the pack for shortstops and second baseman. His Defensive Runs Saved is only one point above zero, which is considered the norm for this stat.
Tyler Wade is versatile, capable of playing three infield positions and two of the three outfield positions.
But these types of players are a dime a dozen today. Many, like Wade, are groomed by their team to be “the guy” off the bench.
Over the years, the Yankees have been afforded players like Ronald Torreyes, who hit .292 and .280 in consecutive years, Randy Velarde, and Luis Soto, all of whom contributed with the bat while holding their own in the field.
Tyler Wade: Free Roamer Or Free Rider
Tyler Wade is the exception and not the norm of what the Yankees have been accustomed to. Will he make or break the Yankees this year – of course not.
But the real question is how much of a contribution will Wade make to a team on the hunt for a World Series title, and are there not players of equal or better value on the Yankees roster who should be given a chance.
For example, here’s a list of transactions the Yankees made over the past month as they trimmed their roster of infielders down.
Yankees Are Looking At More Than Just Wade
Regardless of whether Tyler Wade stays or goes as the season moves on, there is justice in the air while Aaron Boone himself is on the Yankees’ hot seat following three years and no title, despite an overload of talent.
Remember, too, Boone has also put himself squarely in the middle of the looming Gary Sanchez debacle. That’s two players with his name written all over them while the Yankees chase that all-elusive Number 28.
Yankees And The Limits Of Loyalty In Baseball
Look, Tyler Wade is the epitome of a New York Yankee. He’s in full accord with the Yankee’s way of doing things, and he does nothing to rock the boat in the clubhouse – all good attributes.
But other than the fact he is cheap and controllable until 2025, when he reaches free-agent status, is it not reasonable to assume that Brian Cashman can find a suitable replacement with some offensive prowess?
That would require Cashman “one-upping” Boone on the Yankees’ totem pole of authority during a season. But so what if a move of this kind improves the team.
As for Boone, he clearly prides himself on being a player’s manager, always supportive (publicly), with personal experience that validates what he came to know as a player himself – this is a hard game!
But in baseball, loyalty extends only as far as the game being played today or the fifteen games you’ve previously played.
Yankees Tyler Wade: The Hammer Will Fall
Tyler Wade is here – by default or not – so he deserves a chance to reverse his numbers in the same way Gio Urshela did almost overnight when he first came to the Yankees.
But after four years of little or no progress, the leash on Tyler Wade needs to be short, and Brian Cashman (reluctantly) should be scouring the market and on the phone to have a replacement for Wade readily available.
I hate columns like this when I write them, especially because Tyler Wade is (from all we know) a “good guy.”
We know, too, that Wade was affected by last week’s rumors and reports that he may not make the team – sent down to the minors instead.
Well, he survived the crunch, and here he is, ready to step on the field tomorrow afternoon for Opening Day at Yankee Stadium.
But don’t be mistaken, Tyler, because it’s time to step up or be forced out – and that’s just baseball.