Why are Yankees letting Jay Bruce replacement waste away in Scranton?


After 11 games of New York Yankees baseball, one thing is clear: this team misses Luke Voit more than we ever could’ve imagined.

Half-kidding … we think? After all, Voit can’t correct Gleyber Torres’ fielding woes. He can’t keep Gary Sanchez from wandering into no-man’s land on the bases. He can’t beef up Jameson Taillon’s leg strength.

But in 2020, Voit was the only Yankee who remained blunt when the team struggled, and seemed to motivate the rest of his teammates to pick up the slack.

In other words, Aaron Boone thinks “hitting is hard”; Voit thinks we stink.

Voit’s rehab is reportedly on the right track; in fact, he’s even doing some “light fielding” as of Wednesday morning, which is more than Jay Bruce is contributing to the Yankees’ active roster.

Bruce’s lone short porch bomb was fun, and he made a few bizarrely nice picks in the early going, but he is quite simply not a first baseman, nor is he a viable everyday MLB player at this point. New York’s experiment with a third baseman at short (in place of a second baseman who starts there!), a left fielder at first, and four other left fielders on the roster can’t last forever.

So why is the team leaving a powerful first baseman with monstrous exit velocity at the Alternate Site when all they need is a spark for the next month? How can Chris Gittens possibly be worse than Bruce?

Why won’t the Yankees give Chris Gittens a shot at first base?

You can’t nitpick an issue with Gittens that doesn’t apply to Bruce.

Supposed poor defense? Have you seen the guy we chose to role with instead?

Swing and miss prowess? He’s not the only one, and there are plenty of benefits that come with it.

Need a roster spot? We’ve got one ripe for the taking! Sorry, Jay.

For all the offseason talk about the Yankees’ unstoppable offense, they haven’t done much to justify the chatter, whether through output or underlying metrics. Apparently in response to trolls who claim they’ve lived and died by the home run for too long, they’ve stopped hitting them, socking only 11 through their first 11 games (23 last year, 22 in 2019). Hard-hit balls? They rank solidly towards the back of the pack, falling 21st in MLB between Baltimore and Arizona.

Gittens might not be able to change all that by himself, but his thunderous bat would go a long way toward improving both rankings.

That’s real power, just wasting away in the Poconos.

Every spring, Gittens comes to camp and shows off his skills, and we muse about how it’s a shame there’s no fit whatsoever on the big-league roster.

Now, there is, and we’ve chosen to abandon the conversation.

Perhaps Gittens’ ultimate future is overseas, but the Yankees are currently denying the man who slashed .281/.393/.500 at Double-A in 2019 at age 25 to showcase his skills during a month when they could absolutely use another thumper.

Their silence and preference for the detrimental Bruce is deafening.