Yankees latest round of cuts are indication Jay Bruce will be on Opening Day roster
The New York Yankees continue to make cuts this spring and the Opening Day roster is beginning to come into focus.
The big talking points over the last few weeks especially have been the bullpen and the bench. Who is going to take Zack Britton’s roster spot and who will join Brett Gardner and Kyle Higashioka in the dugout?
Fans got closer to answering the latter question on Friday when the Yankees made a number of roster moves prior to their game against the Phillies.
They optioned Albert Abreu, Mike Ford, Thairo Estrada and Brooks Kriske to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
The most notable name there? Ford. He was on the Yankees roster to open last year and has appeared in 79 games the past two seasons as the team’s backup first baseman. However, a really bad 2020 showing and an unimpressive spring have led to the team’s latest decision.
But perhaps most importantly, Ford’s demotion further paves the way for Jay Bruce to be on this year’s Opening Day roster.
Something fans have been suspecting for a couple of weeks now is slowly coming to fruition based on reports, commentary, and now concrete roster moves.
Bruce’s lefty bat was on fire to start the spring, but he’s since cooled. Even so, he’s vastly out-performing Ford at the plate and his defense at first base has been viewed as “better than expected.”
Bruce’s experience and bat easily outweighs Ford’s, so it likely came down to his ability to play first base and the corner outfield spots — he’s only played in a handful of games at first over the last few years, so the Yankees probably needed to see what he had left in the tank.
Then again, there are still some issues to sort out. Since DJ LeMahieu can play some first base, perhaps the Yankees could lean toward carrying Derek Dietrich (he can play first, second and third) and Tyler Wade (because of his ability to play shortstop). We simply won’t know until everything’s finalized.
But Bruce’s bat, veteran voice, experience and potential defensive versatility in the infield and outfield could change everything when it comes to the big decision. And don’t forget, Bruce’s potential opt out is March 25, and the move to option Ford came almost a week before that, which could provide more insight into Bruce’s potential future with the Yankees.