Yankees should pursue Mike Tauchman trade if teams are really calling

Mike Tauchman #39 of the New York Yankees reacts after striking oyt during the ninth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium on September 02, 2020 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Mike Tauchman #39 of the New York Yankees reacts after striking oyt during the ninth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium on September 02, 2020 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /
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Are teams really blowing up Brian Cashman’s cell phone about Yankees OF Mike Tauchman?

You can call us homers for saying so, but it undeniably felt like the Yankees had stumbled into an excellent fit in Mike Tauchman during the 2019 season.

But the inevitable regression of players like Tauchman was why it hit so hard when the 2019 Yankees weren’t able to cap off their incredible, well-oiled-machine of a year with a World Series. And boy, did that regression hit Tauchman hard in ’20.

In 2019, Tauchman was one of the best WAR compilers in baseball, using exemplary defense, base running, patience, and contact hitting to morph into a Mike Trout extremely lite. That is to say, Tauchman did everything Trout did much worse, but still well enough to positively impact a contender from a very important spot.

He posted a ridiculous 16 defensive runs saved. After a slow start, he provided us with a 128 wRC+, making him a 28% better hitter than the league average. He also did this in Baltimore.

https://twitter.com/espn/status/1158921799209558016?s=20

Yeah. Pretty cool.

In 2020, however, he was statistically one of the very worst players in baseball. Tauchman’s OBP still reached 100 points above his average (.242 to .342), but in 95 at-bats, he was one of the most powerless players in the sport, rocketing zero homers and only six extra-base hits, all doubles. He also struck out 26 times in 95 at-bats, and to the naked eye, spent the vast majority of those 95 at-bats making weak contact and swinging through center-cut 91 MPH fastballs. For whatever reason, it seemed we had a case of early-onset Greg Bird Disease.

I had an extreme attachment to Tauchman at the end of the 2019 season, but needless to say, if he’s the missing piece that allows you to make an upgrade elsewhere, you certainly pull the trigger.

Which is why I was so confused when Brian Cashman announced to the world on Wednesday that he’d already hung up “a lot” of calls on Tauchman.

Surely…surely one of those would’ve been for a fair return, based on what we just witnessed? Tauchman is 30 years old. Whatever growth occurred in his game has already happened — and then stagnated during the season unlike any other.

Now, we do understand that if Tauchman were on another team, he’d fit the profile of a Yankees acquisition candidate.

But seeing as he spent his entire career prior to 2019 stuck at the Triple-A level, and the only appearance of this eye-catching total package was during the ’19 season, perhaps Brian Cashman should listen a little more intently next time on some of these aggressive trade calls?

Thanks to the emergence of Clint Frazier, there are more important holes to be filled on this team than a fifth outfielder.