Yankees Trading In 6-Cylinder For Newer 8-Cylinder Model

Gary Sanchez Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Gary Sanchez Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

In a few weeks, the Yankees will be trading in their souped-up six-cylinder lineup for the 8-cylinder model that’s been sitting in the showroom for a while. What effects will that have on the team?

The Yankees have been chugging down the road using a six-cylinder version of a lineup that was designed to be an eight-cylinder model with even more power than they’ve had so far in the season.

As soon as next weekend, Didi Gregorius could re-take his regular spot at shortstop and not far behind him will be the arrival of Gary Sanchez, who can hit with no physical issues, but still, cannot make the throws a catcher needs to make.

In their absence, the Yankees have thrived with Austin Romine and Ronald Torreyes hitting at or near .300 in their regular lineup. And while there’s no question that both will be sidelined once Gregorius and Sanchez are ready, a question lurking in the background is whether or not their return will upset the balance of a team that is playing well together as a unit.

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The answer is obvious. Of course, it will. While neither Torreyes or Romine expected this to last forever, it’s still going to be an adjustment for them to take a regular seat on the bench as fill-ins for the main attractions. Even though, neither is expected to be the moan and groan type who, by definition, naturally upset the balance of any team they are on.

For Joe Girardi, it’s going to mean a complete revamping of a lineup he has worked hard to put together. He’ll need to insert Gregorius and Sanchez into the lineup somewhere, and that won’t necessarily mean the spots currently being used by Torreyes and Romine.

Girardi initially planned to use Sanchez in the number two spot as protection for Greg Bird, but with Bird having all but disappeared as a threat, that might not be the best place for Sanchez at this point.

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And Sanchez himself wasn’t off to a good start offensively when he was playing, managing only three hits in 20 at-bats with one home run. The time off for the catcher may have a silver lining to it, though, as the winter was a whirlwind of public appearances that followed his smashing introduction to the major leagues at the end of last season.

Typically, you would say, “Welcome back, guys!” and the team would pick up where they left off. But the trouble here is that there’s really no place where they left off.

And hopefully, he’s had a chance to sit back and relax to the point where he’s ready to assume the mantle he’s inherited as “The Man” in the Yankees lineup and behind the plate.

Sanchez says he’s used the time to watch from the dugout as Romine, who’s getting raves from the pitching staff, calls a game. His return means an entire staff re-adjusting to a different “look” behind the plate, and they need to be ready to duck down when Sanchez unleashes a bullet to second base on a steal attempt.

Gregorius should be an easier fit and his reappearance at shortstop will take little or no adjustment time in working with Starlin Castro on double plays, who’s covering, etc. since they worked together for an entire season last year.

Typically, you would say, “Welcome back, guys!” and the team would pick up where they left off. But the trouble here is that there’s no place where they left off, and for Girardi, it’ll be almost like fielding a brand new team a full month into the season.

The say baseball is all about making adjustments. And for the Yankees, this will be a big one as they seek to carry on with their winning ways with no hiccups in-between.