Can Derek Dietrich and Jay Bruce both make Yankees bench?


Fact: The New York Yankees are a better, more dangerous, and more well-rounded team with Derek Dietrich and Jay Bruce on their bench instead of Tyler Wade and Mike Tauchman.

Second Fact: There’s almost no way this team’s braintrust can be convinced to jettison Wade, the only proven backup shortstop on the roster.

It hurts us as much as it hurts you.

This appears to be an unsolvable conundrum, even as both Dietrich and Bruce appear to be mashing their way closer to genuine roster consideration.

In the team’s first primetime contest of the spring, Dietrich and Bruce were both given a chance to show off their potent and well-seasoned bats, and both men once again proved their mettle.

As the Yankees’ first baseman for one night only, Bruce went 2-2, socking a double that set up Dietrich for the slam dunk, a two-run homer to right field that felt like a precursor to some summer short-porch shots, if you closed your eyes.

Wade, thus far, has been relegated mostly to the matinees, hidden off to the side.

Can the Yankees replace Tyler Wade on the roster?

The reality of the Yankees roster is that he’s earned his bench spot simply by being a warm and quick-twitch body who can relieve Gleyber Torres every so often. This team prides themselves on versatility, which is exactly why there’s a damned good chance that either Dietrich or Bruce will eventually find themselves on the season-opening roster instead of Mike Tauchman, a lefty-hitting outfielder without the track record of Brett Gardner.

But versatility both giveth and taketh away, and Dietrich can seemingly play every position but catcher, pitcher and the one the team needs Wade to fill on occasion. If they desired to fit a round peg in the hole, Dietrich and Bruce could coexist.

As things stand, it feels like a fan-crafted fantasy that Wade has anyone breathing down his neck as Opening Day approaches.

We do live in reality, and it’s not tough to see why it’s enticing to dream of both Bruce and Dietrich making it to Opening Day.

The only true positive about Wade is the fact that he’s earned a “6” next to his name in the scorebook. In four partial big-league seasons, he has hit under .200 in three of them, “rocketing” up to a .245 mark with a pair of homers in 2019. His best-ever OPS+ was 85, 15 percent below league average. Tyler Wade is not a good hitter. In small-ish sample sizes, he’s also proven to be…well, not so baseball-smart, either; remember when he was the designated runner in extra against the Mets and got doubled off to single-handedly destroy a baseball game?

If you’re hanging on the roster by a thread, you need to execute every task you’re handed perfectly. Wade has never done this.

But we can ruminate on this subject all we want, evaluating every permutation while waxing rhapsodic about a veteran bench laden with talent and a new-era Nick Swisher in Dietrich. Unfortunately, the Yankees will choose Wade, and neither man will make the 26-man roster without the sacrifice of the Sock Man.

Can we at least advocate for a five-man bench?!