Yankees boast depth, versatility to handle COVID case scare
By Ryan Doyle
If the Yankees face a minor COVID outbreak, they have the depth to keep winning.
Just days into the regular season, the New York Yankees have already been impacted by the coronavirus. Due to outbreaks on the Miami Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies, the Yankees schedule has been rearranged, and it looks like a handful of double-headers might be in their future.
Thankfully, the Yanks have yet to witness an outbreak on the roster and hopefully, it stays that way, because with over half of the Marlins roster testing positive, it could spell doom for not only the lowly Marlins but the AL favorite Yankees. This could quickly turn into an absolute disaster for the league, and basically … already has — don’t get it twisted.
However, if New York is forced to play through a small outbreak, the team is certainly capable of maintaining a high level of play thanks to their depth and roster filled with versatile players.
Now, before I get too far ahead of myself, let’s be clear that health is the most important thing and any outbreak rightfully threatens the continuation of baseball. However, if a handful of Yanks do test positive at the same time, New York is certainly capable of weathering the storm on the field.
The depth of the Yankees is well-documented. At essentially full strength heading into the season, manager Aaron Boone has had to juggle multiple players in order to find them at-bats. As they say, it’s a good problem to have.
Already, at-bats for capable players like Miguel Andujar and Mike Ford have been limited. Even Mike Tauchman, a valuable fourth outfielder won’t get the playing time he deserves after a tremendous 2019 campaign defensively and at the plate.
This does bode well if New York does face a few positive tests and inevitable injuries throughout the year.
New York won’t have the luxury of staying afloat for a month while they get healthy or await negative test results. With every game meaning so much, the depth New York boasts will help limit losing streaks during the 60-game sprint. Plus, the Yanks won’t have many off days to provide players with needed rest days.
Although depth and versatility go hand-in-hand in a way, players like Tyler Wade, Thairo Estrada, DJ LeMahieu and Andujar can play at least three different positions, allowing Boone to juggle the lineup in seemingly endless ways.
With the ability to move multiple players around the diamond, the Yankees will be able to run out a competitive lineup every night.
Pitching is another story. If the Yankees lose a handful of important pitchers, in their thin starting rotation in particular, New York could have some problems. However, that is the norm in the majors. Despite the expanded player pool and rosters, most teams don’t have the pitching depth to weather more than a few positive tests.
The Yankees bullpen is a different story. With their plethora of arms, the absence of closer Aroldis Chapman hasn’t been felt yet. If COVID creeps its way into the pen, the Yanks have the answers.
While COVID is a completely different animal than the endless injuries New York faced a season ago, they proved they can live up to the “Next Man Up” mantra.
It’s not fun to break down potential worst-case scenarios for the Yankees, but the COVID-19 threat is impossible to ignore and, at this point, it feels like a matter of time before it makes its presence felt again.