Yankees: Too Bad But the Jay Bruce Experiment Is Not Working

Yankees Jay Bruce: Built for the short porch

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.

<a rel=Yankees Jay Bruce Sputtering With The Team
Yankees Jay Bruce Sputtering With The Team

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.

Luke Voit, New York Yankees (Photo: New York Post)
Luke Voit, New York Yankees (Photo: New York Post)

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.

Last Place Yankees AL East (MLB.com)
Last Place Yankees AL East (MLB.com)

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

Brian Cashman Longest Tenured Yankees GM And Tired? (NY Daily News)
Brian Cashman Longest Tenured Yankees GM And Tired? (NY Daily News)

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.

Here’s What Readers Are Saying…

They should just let him walk…
Bring up Mike Ford…
Bruce should be sent packing sooner rather than later and replaced with Ford. Ford isn’t the long-term answer, but he can provide better defense and a better bat. Then again, my 17-year-old could provide a better 1B defense than Bruce right now
Totally agree. I said, in the beginning, they should’ve kept Ford on the roster
The only reason I believe Bruce is on this roster is Voit getting injured, thus it encouraged the Yanks to give it a shot. Let’s not forget the utter mediocrity of Ford last year. A semi-competent Bruce would have been an upgrade had he played to a sufficient level. He hasn’t, and now he looks totally lost out there. While not quite the level of Chris Carter’s uselessness, he’s getting there. Think the best move for the Yanks now is to bring in Ford and hope his bat does something… at least he’s a good defender.
Chris Carter….AAARRRGGGHHH…There was a name I never wanted to hear again
It’s almost as if you live in some alternate universe where Voit wasn’t supposed to be our everyday first baseman before he got hurt.
There is no Jay Bruce experiment.
If Voit was active, you wouldn’t even be saying Bruce’s name right now.
Not sure why you’re making it sound like picking up the guy was more than it was ever meant to be before the injury to Voit. Like this was on Cashman’s whiteboard having Bruce as a full-time first baseman.
I got to say Steve all due respect many of these articles of yours are of the low-hanging-fruit variety.
How many of your articles are about something other than what the Yankees are doing wrong?
Pat Malone The whole idea is for them to get better, and usually, that points to ways in which they need to get better. Be a rah-rah cheerleader like Aaron Boone if you (and others want to) – but that is not my place here. I don’t apologize, but I appreciate the thought, and without objection, I’m adding your comment to the article.


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Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.