What decisions would YOU make to round off the New York Yankees‘ Opening Day roster? You, the fan, know all the answers, after all.
Heck, we’ve been clamoring for a finished product about a week and a half into spring training!
At this juncture, many would agree Jay Bruce has probably earned himself a spot alongside Brett Gardner and Kyle Higashioka, but who gets the final nod?
Will it be Tyler Wade, who’s gotten a pass solely because he can play a serviceable middle infield? What about Mike Tauchman, who’s a wildly intriguing player but is largely unknown from a productivity standpoint? Will the Yanks consider the HBP king Derek Dietrich?
It’s a tough discussion. Wade is clearly the worst player of that bunch, but without him the Yankees don’t have a backup shortstop. Tauchman is a nice piece given his price tag and years of control, but the Yankees have a ton of outfielders. It feels like the Yankees can’t roll with the aforementioned three unless the versatile Dietrich gets the spot.
But apparently the team is considering another option, which changes everything.
Here’s the latest from SNY’s Andy Martino:
"“All through spring training, the general assumption about the Yankees roster went like this: Brett Gardner, Kyle Higashioka, and Tyler Wade were assured of spots for the bench, and Mike Tauchman, Jay Bruce, and (seemingly to a lesser extent) Derek Dietrich had to compete for the final spot.“But what if the Yankees didn’t have to choose between Tauchman and Bruce after all?“One strategy that the team is weighing, according to major league sources, is to option Wade to begin the season.”"
Wade has one option left! Did you know that? While it gives the Yankees’ flexibility, this scenario would call for Gleyber Torres likely playing in 150 games, with Gio Urshela filling in at short when needed. Is that the best recipe, especially with Urshela coming off elbow surgery? Won’t he need some days off?
Another note? Carrying Tauchman simply doesn’t make the Yankees better. He’s a power-less lefty bat and plays a position the team doesn’t need unless they suffer injuries. Letting him go isn’t the right decision, but neither is giving him a roster spot since he doesn’t give the team any more flexibility (unless he’s going to play some first base).
If they’re not going to roll with Wade, it feels like Dietrich has to make the roster for the sake of the infield, with trading Tauchman for something of value as the most logical decision.
It’s undoubtedly a polarizing discussion among fans, but the Yankees must do what’s best for the team … and it feels like carrying three outfielders on the bench is not that.