The Yankees injuries seem bent on proving they have the team depth necessary to survive a long season. Is that the good news or the bad news…
Yankees General Manager, Brian Cashman, is always checking the whiteboard in his office ensuring his team is strong, at least one level down, but preferably two for each of the 25 players on the Yankees active roster. Simultaneously, he is constantly checking his notes and texts from scouts regarding players the Yankees can acquire to fill gaps on the roster.
As readers know, the Yankees have been hit with a rash of injuries to key players even before the season started Aaron Hicks, CC Sabathia, and Luis Severino). Yesterday, the team received more bad news, losing Miguel Andujar and Giancarlo Stanton for a time yet to be determined.
The natural response of “better now than in September” has a comforting ring to it, except for the age-old axiom in baseball that games played in April count the same as the ones played in September. Rationalizers might also point to the sputtering Red Sox (1-4 to start the season) as proof that things could be worse.
Yankees Injuries Force Return To Castoffs
Despite the injuries, Aaron Boone still has to fill out a lineup card for each game. The team’s immediate response is to add Tyler Wade and Clint Frazier as stop-gaps. Each will get plenty of playing time, and it remains to be seen if these moves are temporary, or permanent, at least until the Yankees stitch themselves back together.
Wade, in particular, was openly displeased when he was sent down as one of the final cuts of Spring Training, saying he felt “blindsided” by the move. Ergo, the Yankees will be watching Wade’s mental approach to this development as well as his level of production. In the meantime, vindication is the better part of valor, leaving Wade to determine his own future by proving the Yankees wrong.
For Frazier, he seemed to play along with the Yankee’s assessment that following the time he missed last season due to re-occurring injuries, he needed more and steady at-bats in the minor leagues. Now, he’ll be getting those at-bats against major league pitching, and finally, Frazier will get “his chance” to show the Yankees why he was a prime piece in the 2016 trade that sent Andrew Miller to the Indians.
A check of the remaining free agents for third-basemen reveals Will Middlebrooks (30), a former Red Sox, and T.J. Rivera, formerly of the Mets. Among free agent outfielders without a job, familiar names like Denard Span, Colby Rasmus, and Austin Jackson are still without a home.
The trade market is, of course, wide open, so we won’t go there, leaving Brian Cashman to his wizardry if the Yankees go that route.
Yankees Injuries A Blessing In Disguise…?
I would think that from a manager or general manager’s perspective, they would rather their team is tested early as opposed to late, especially since the season is endless at this point as opposed to crunch time in September when teams are set in stone with new MLB rules, regarding roster size.
The singular positive emerging from the Yankees imitation of the 2018 injury-riddled Mets is none of the injuries (hate to say it – but so far) is season-ending or of the kind, for instance, that struck the Dodgers when Corey Seager, their All-Star shortstop, went down last season and stayed down. But, it’s all subject to change on a moment’s notice from Yankees medical staff.
A back-door positive, though, is that Aaron Boone needs to prove his worthiness, amid prevailing logic a monkey could manage the Yankees with the stacked lineup they had entering the season. So tonight, we see a revamped Yankees lineup Boone has drawn up to face the Tigers, including installing Gleyber Torres in the cleanup spot.
Is it enough? Are they the right moves? How deep does Cashman need to be? Is there lightning in a bottle between Wade and Frazier? One side note, however, reveals how “deep” the Yankees believe they are at third base – Greg Bird is fielding ground balls at third base as part of his regular pre-game routine…
Written by Steve Contursi, Editor, Reflections On Baseball
(Thank You For Sharing)