And even though this is a World Series-caliber team, there are still some things we need answered for our mental well being.
Right now, the competition for a spot on the Opening Day roster is heating up, especially with all of the big-time invites the Yankees doled out this spring, which could mean formerly “established” members of the team may take a hike.
Is Tyler Wade of those guys?
Why do we ask that? Well, because both Jay Bruce and Derek Dietrich received non-roster invites this offseason and have been making an early impression — Bruce is already 3-for-4 with a double and Dietrich is 1-for-3 with a two-run homer and a hit by pitch.
To make matters worse? Gio Urshela played a bit of shortstop upon his comeback when there was a defensive shift.
And he proved he can do this in a major league game during the 2020 regular season after doing so on a limited basis during his previous stints with the Cleveland Indians and Toronto Blue Jays — which were actual starts at shortstop, not forced by a shift.
So what’s the issue here? If Gio can fill in a short on a limited basis in the event Gleyber Torres needs rest or (knock on wood) suffers an injury, then the Yankees would have more of an excuse to roll with more effective lefty bats in Bruce and/or Dietrich because of their defensive flexibility.
Bruce already logged a spring game at first base and can play the corner outfield spots, while Dietrich can play first, second, third and the corner outfield spots. This would help the offense upgrade significantly from the left side of the plate on days in which someone needs a breather. Wade’s bat has yet to come around so far in his career, with his saving grace being his versatility in the middle infield.
But that could all go away if the Yankees feel Urshela could be a formidable option at shortstop for, say 20-25 games? Perhaps that’s a reach, but you never know!
Wade has plenty of time to make up ground this spring after starting 1-for-5 at the plate, and the same goes for Bruce and Dietrich trending in the other direction. But it’s hard to argue that the pressure isn’t on Wade to show something more with his bat, because the Yankees brought in a couple of versatile guys who have way more power and provide better battles at the plate.
Just another potential storyline to keep an eye on for the next few weeks. A particularly big one, too.