Dietrich showed up with very little fanfare on the Yanks’ roster card, tweeted as pitchers and catchers straggled into camp on Wednesday morning.
For a player whose reputation is predicated on monster bat flips, it was certainly a quieter arrival than we would’ve expected.
As more information trickled out on Day 1, it only seemed likelier that Dietrich would head north with the team, too.
That’s right. The new numbers dropped early Wednesday afternoon, and all arguments about Dietrich’s versatility as compared to the other options seemed to be pointing in the right direction.
After all, the Yankees are already catering to him on (ostensibly) his first day with the organization, gifting him No. 12.
Yeah, you don’t just let someone use a low-double-digits jersey in Spring Training, then ask them to give it back when the month concludes.
Especially if you’re an organization like the Yankees, where the lowest available number is Brett Gardner’s 11 (does he maybe want to … claim that again, or what’s the deal here?).
If Dietrich massively underwhelms in camp, or if the year 2020 sapped him of his power potential and solid defense at multiple infield positions, then sure, things can change.
But in the head-to-head with Bruce, Dietrich provides much more, and can leave the Yankees with a more flexible roster overall. And if the team intends to occasionally carry a three-man bench with 14 pitchers, as Aaron Boone insisted they would Wednesday, then having one of those three men be a Swiss Army knife becomes all the more valuable.
If selected, Dietrich gives the Yankees muscle, personality and an edge. There’s something very Swishalicious about his power to galvanize a roster, as well as make his opponents extremely upset about his posturing.
20+ hit by pitches in a season is the norm every time Dietrich is allowed to complete a full campaign, and the Yanks will certainly take it.
Though his addition remained a secret right up until the spring buzzer sounded, it’s pretty clear the braintrust values the unique skills he can bring.
Check the numbers.