Mike Tauchman has earned the right to start on the New York Yankees.
No disrespect to ANY of the Yankees outfielders here, but New York seemingly has an easy decision on their hands. As manager Aaron Boone keeps toying with using Brett Gardner, Mike Tauchman and Miguel Andujar in left field (with Clint Frazier waiting for the call), we can avoid the merry go round and cut right to the chase.
Tauchman should be starting in left, and he’s continuing to run away with the hypothetical starting job.
At this point, Andujar is not a viable option on either side of the ball in this shortened season and Gardner profiles as more of a fourth outfielder despite his career year in 2019. Tauchman is more aggressive on the base paths (he’s got three stolen bags) and more relaxed at the plate.
That’s the kind of effectiveness the Yankees need to round out the starting lineup. There’s no need to keep shuffling the starting role out there.
By no means would we “move on” from Gardy, Andujar or Frazier right now. All of those guys can log reps in some capacity, with Gardner no doubt becoming the fourth outfielder. It probably makes sense for the Yankees to explore trades involving Andujar and Frazier, but that’s a conversation for a different time.
Some might say it’s not fair to already write Gardy off after just eight games, but he’s only signed through this season (with a club option for 2021), is seven years older than Tauchman, and is no longer an aggressive runner. Tauchman is under club control through 2025, so why not give him the starting job now and tell Gardner he’s more of a mentor? Nothing wrong with that. It’s hard to believe he’d be upset with that — he’s already not starting every night!
At the end of the day, the Yankees offense and defense are likely fine even if they put an 18-year-old out in left field, but why not make the starting lineup as strong as it can possibly be?
Tauchman’s approach at the plate (at the bottom of the lineup, no less), base running abilities and defensive presence trump all the other candidates.
We might not even be having this conversation if Tauch doesn’t injure his calf and miss the end of the 2019 season. But he’s off to a hot start and proved last year was no fluke, so it’s time to pass the torch.