Yankees: Mike Tauchman becoming important piece after endless trade rumors

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 05: Mike Tauchman #39 of the New York Yankees bats during the eighth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium on April 05, 2021 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 05: Mike Tauchman #39 of the New York Yankees bats during the eighth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium on April 05, 2021 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /
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Admit it, you probably wanted Mike Tauchman traded. At the very least, you were likely indifferent to the subject.

And we wouldn’t blame you. The New York Yankees outfielder had a downright bad 2020 and got off to a slow start in spring training. Sure, his 2019 in which he burst onto the scene was awesome, but fans still largely don’t know who Tauchman really is as a player.

But they could be finding out soon.

Tauchman, despite being the subject of endless trade rumors this offseason, made the Opening Day roster and has been serving as a key bench piece for the Bombers.

He hasn’t done it with his bat. He hasn’t even done it with his impressive defense. It’s been his speed and base running that’s helped him stand out.

Tauch’s already been called upon multiple times as a pinch runner through the team’s first six games, and all he’s done is deliver. Exhibit A: the speedster scoring the game-tying run in the eighth inning on Wednesday night.

After a Gary Sanchez single, manager Aaron Boone called on Tauchman to pinch run with Gio Urshela coming to the plate. After Urshela went down in the count 0-2, it looked like the decision would be for naught, but the slugger ripped a double into the gap, and it was off to the races for Tauchman.

If anybody else was on first, they would’ve been thrown out. Tauchman made it by a hair with the help of Brett Gardner, who directed him to slide off to the side and around the impending tag. The awareness from Tauchman in such a high-stakes, bang-bang moment made the difference.

Perhaps what many of us Yankees fans don’t realize is that every player doesn’t need to be tearing the cover off the ball or blowing us away in all facets of the game. Every championship team obviously has a collection of those guys, but also others in the background who do a few things exceptionally well. Remember Jarrod Dyson on those World Series Royals teams? He was more one-dimensional than Tauchman, but you get the picture.

Tauch clearly has the mentality to do something at a high level in limited fashion, and that’s as invaluable as it gets.

And guess what? The Yankees are likely going to be dealing with an Aaron Judge injury (who would’ve thought?!?!) right out of the gate with the vague injury updates that may or may not keep him out of the series against the Tampa Bay Rays.

That just means more reps for Tauchman, who has gotten off to a nice start with what he’s been given in 2021, and could use that to his advantage to gain more playing time.