The Yankees gave it due diligence before adding Jay Bruce to their opening day roster. But sometimes, sentiment aside, it just doesn’t work.
The Yankees, with Luke Voit rehabbing from a leg injury, not only needed a replacement to play first base but also a left-handed bat with some punch to add to their (still) dominant right-hand lineup.
The idea was there, even while down in Florida, that Jay Bruce, a noted and successful power pull-hitter would pepper the short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium, and perhaps could land a spot on Aaron Boone‘s bench once Voit returned, utilizing his versatility to play in the outfield.
Alas, the early results on Bruce’s comeback attempt are in and they are not good. But make no mistake, he’s not the only culprit.
Aaron Boone has written his name in the lineup nine times this season, including yesterday in which Bruce went 0-4 while stranding two runners in scoring position in another loss to the Toronto Blue Jays by a score of 5-4.
Still early in the season as the mantra goes, Jay Bruce is batting .118 with one home run and three RBI.
Still listed as an outfielder on the Yankees roster, the Yankees have only Mike Ford to fill in at first base until Voit returns – a matter the team is hopeful for but not assured that will happen anytime soon.
Yankees: Where Are The Roster Options
Similar to the concern about Gleyber Torres as their regular shortstop, there are seemingly no immediate options available to Brian Cashman to replace Bruce.
That is unless Cashman wants to buck heads with Hal Steinbrenner, expressing the need to throw the luxury tax limit out the window, a development that is sooner to occur than Gerrit Cole gets the opportunity to throw a complete game.
Worrisome above all else is whether or not Luke Voit‘s legs can withstand the pressure of a 162-game season in which he is expected to play in 150+ games at first base for the Yankees.
The first base position is a leg-weary position, especially with a man on first that needs guarding and an explosive lateral thrust after each pitch to get in a fielding position.
Some can do it and some can’t – and the Yankees still must have the jury out with regards to Voit staying on the playing field.
If the Yankees had a better choice other than moving DJ Lemahieu to first, Gleyber Torres to second, and Gio Urshela to shortstop while Brian Cashman awakes from his nap to find a real shortstop that isn’t named Trevor Story, then maybe the swirl around Jay Bruce can and would subside.
Yankees: 5-7 Ain’t Gonna Cut It
But this Yankees team, with a 5-7 record to begin the season is not the team even Las Vegas thought they had with the preseason prediction to put your money on the Yankees if you are looking for a team in October that’ll be in the World Series.
That 5-7 record is totally within the American League East, and the Yankees have yet to play a game outside the division they are supposed to be winning.
While the surprising Red Sox (7-3), Angels and Reds (7-4), and Dodgers (9-2) have jumped off to a good start, doing what they’re supposed to do, the Yankees…not so much.
If the Yankees, with or without Jay Bruce are what they are supposed to be, we should be seeing at least an inkling of good things that lies ahead – or even more – have an early-season record that replaces the Red Sox in today’s standings.
People say panic – this isn’t panic.
Instead, what it is is looking at a team that allowed to move forward as a team that isn’t is going to disappoint Yankees fans – again.
The Yankees have holes in their lineup, in the field, and elsewhere (did you see the running gaffe by Gary Sanchez that quelled a rally?).
Yankees: No Panic – We Only Need Solid Baseball Moves
We don’t need panic, but what we do need is a few solid baseball decisions from Brian Cashman, now or at the trade deadline, that solidifies a Yankees lineup that will continue to sputter, unless it is addressed.
Brian Cashman gets paid the big bucks, not you or me, so answers will not be forthcoming from here, except to say hold onto Jay Bruce for a while longer – he’s a pro’s pro and he’ll come through for the Yankees.
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