Bruce, who’s primarily an outfielder and has been playing first base, isn’t exactly a sure-handed defender at his new position, and his bat as been dreadful to start the year.
Unfortunately, higher expectations are placed on the Yankees, and when you’re a veteran coming in after making the roster in spring training, fans will be expecting quality at-bats … at the very least.
And given Bruce’s power from the left side of the plate, everyone was hoping for a few home runs, too. Well, all he’s got is a solo shot and a bloop two-run single to his name. Now, it appears he’s being phased out of the lineup.
Manager Aaron Boone spoke to the media ahead of Saturday’s matchup with the Tampa Bay Rays and revealed we will be seeing a lot more of DJ LeMahieu at first and Rougned Odor at second.
That all but officially reveals Bruce’s time in the Bronx is coming to an end.
In 10 games, the veteran is slashing a dismal .118/.231/.235. He’s struck out 13 times in 39 plate appearances, hit into three double plays, and is 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position. One could argue it’s unfair to judge him on this small sample size, but he’s quite literally provided no assistance to the team after this terrible start.
Though it’s not entirely Bruce’s fault — the entire team is about as bad as it gets — the Yankees don’t need to move forward with a player who was never guaranteed a roster spot and will be easily replaceable in short time.
Luke Voit’s return truly can’t come soon enough. LeMahieu has already been playing all over the field at the onset of 2021, which many didn’t think would be the case after he signed his six-year, $90 million contract. He’s earned the right to be the everyday second baseman and not be moved across the infield on a daily basis because of the front office’s inability to provide the roster with capable defenders.
Whatever the case, Boone is fed up, and we truly hope the rest of the team is, because this supposed group of “World Series contenders” is truly unwatchable.
Doing away with Bruce, who’s had plenty of opportunities to come through in big spots, is a good start for a Yankees team that cannot afford any further shortcomings than what fans have witnessed so far.
Sending a message like this is important because, while slumps will be tolerated, overall inadequate and incompetent play will not. Bruce’s hot start to spring training was always only going to get him so far. But it’s all been downhill since those first few games, which is largely indicative of his play in recent seasons.