The Yankees, now more aptly known as “The Replacements”, continue to win a bit more than they lose. It’s not the way it was planned, but it’s working…
The Replacements, aka New York Yankees, encourage every fan to buy a scorecard when they enter Yankees Stadium to help identify the anonymous group of brothers masquerading as Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Hicks, Didi Gregorius, Miguel Andujar, Luis Severino, and Greg Bird.
The Replacements all wear the Yankees uniform, but without those pinstripes, they are barely recognized in public. They are a rag-tag bunch who reminds of the common folk who put together an army of sorts to overthrow the British Empire in the American Revolutionary War.
The salaries of The Replacements paid by the Yankees total about $5.5 million, which is roughly 25% of what the Yankees are paying Jacoby Ellsbury to do whatever it is he does in Tampa. Including Luke Voit and Gleyber Torres, only their catcher, Austin Romine, and veteran outfielder Brett Gardner make more than $1 million. (salaries as reported by Spotrac)
Yet, The Replacements, together with a string of outstanding starting pitching that was ignited by the return of the Yankees wily veteran, CC Sabathia, a sometimes solid gold bullpen, and the energy of Brett Gardner, these Yankees have their heads above water and an 11-10 record going into tonight’s game on the West Coast against the Angels.
By now, Yankees fans are familiar with the mantra coming from top to bottom within the organization – the one stating that while none of the injuries are season-ending, there is no timetable as to when each player will return to the lineup…
It’s almost reached the point where we can expect Aaron Boone to scream into the microphones during these daily “updates” – “Hey guys and gals when I know, you’ll know”
Meanwhile, The Yankees Replacements are playing winning, albeit not dominating, clean baseball. And yes, beating the Kansas City Royals (7-15 on the season) three out of four doesn’t mean it’s time to start making the floats for the parade down Broadway in October.
But it does make a statement about this Yankees team. From The Replacements, we see contributions coming from everywhere. Austin Romine gets not one but two clutch hits yesterday to tie and then win the game. Earlier in the week, Tyler Wade lays down a perfect suicide squeeze bunt to seal the fate of the Boston Red Sox.
Clint Frazier, the same guy who announced in Spring Training he was there to take away Brett Gardner’s job, now plays next to Gardner in the outfield and is sparking the Yankees offense in ways suggesting he is no longer to be considered by the Yankees as “expendable” in a trade.
Just getting their feet wet among The Replacements are Mike Tauchman with three home runs in 14 games of his debut season, Gio Urshela with a respectable .281 batting average and four doubles, plus Mike Ford who garnered his first major league hit yesterday, a double.
To state the obvious, this is not the way the Yankees 2019 season was drawn up and predicted. But it reminds of former Mets manager, Terry Collins, who always answered questions about injuries and who’s missing from his lineup with (paraphrasing), “The guys in that clubhouse today are all wearing a major league uniform, and I expect them to perform as a major league ballplayer.”
Overly simplified perhaps, but there is an air of truth to what Collins is saying that relates, for instance, to what might go through Mike Ford’s mind as he dons the pinstripes – feeling the rush of confidence coming from that to the idea that suggests – “I can do this”.
And if The Replacements ever need it, there’s always that go-to guy in the corner locker of the clubhouse to probe and ask questions of Brett Gardner.
Make no mistake, The Replacement Yankees are just that – substitutes for the real thing. And the time will come for each of them when they will be returned to the Yankees Triple-A team in Scranton, PA.
But I’m putting one thing on the table right now. In November, when all is said and done, and the time comes for the Yankees to divide up their playoff monies, the Replacement Yankees had better be given full consideration, and not forgotten for the contribution(s) made in keeping the team in contention.
Yesterday, it was Austin Romine who put the team on his back offensively. Who will it be tonight in Anaheim?