When the New York Yankees traded outfielder Mike Tauchman on Tuesday night right before their game against the Baltimore Orioles, the announcement was met with a lot of resistance from fans.
Why? We’ll get into that in a moment.
Tauchman was sent to the San Francisco Giants in exchange for lefty reliever Wandy Peralta, whose greatest value is the fact he possesses one final minor-league option, so expect him to be shuttled back and forth between the alternate site to eat innings.
Despite his career 4.72 ERA and 1.49 WHIP, the Yankees reportedly like his soft contact rate and the potential of his slider. Great?
But of course, any time Yankees fans express displeasure with one of the organization’s moves or start complaining about advanced metrics, there are those who, regardless of their opinion on the matter, are ready to bring the angry mob down.
This time around, however, there’s evidence to suggest the trolls in the Yankees’ mentions on Twitter are actually right.
Here’s why Yankees fans are angry about the way Mike Tauchman was traded.
If we’re being honest, the Yankees never needed Mike Tauchman. He was acquired for depth purposes back in 2019 because the outfield had been consistently dealing with injury troubles. That year, he ended up filling in admirably, putting up a 3.7 WAR across 87 games. He produced on both sides of the ball, and the Yankees turned a low-level prospect and cash into a legitimate trade chip.
Instead, the Yankees held onto him despite the presence of Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner, Clint Frazier and Aaron Hicks in 2020. Tauchman did end up playing 43 games (again, due to injuries), but his poor play on offense killed his value. The same thing happened in 2021, but Tauchman was carving out the most realistic role for himself yet — he was becoming a valuable bench piece because he could be a reliable defensive replacement and tremendous pinch-runner.
So at this point, since he runs laps around Tyler Wade, you might as well keep him.
Ohhhh, now all of a sudden Tauchman is nothing but a fifth outfielder and a replacement level player. Got it. Wheeeeeee.
The fact of the matter is that this is an indictment on the front office. Not on the Yankees’ fans adoration for Tauchman. General manager Brian Cashman opted to hold onto Tauchman when his value peaked instead of working to get something in return. Tauchman was a luxury asset. He was never ever going to get more playing time unless someone suffered a season-ending injury. And you don’t hold onto players under the assumption something that catastrophic will happen.
And you want to talk about pitchers/innings-eaters who can be optioned to the alternate site and brought back up to the MLB roster? The Yankees had one in Garrett Whitlock! And decided to let him go in the Rule 5 Draft to the Boston Red Sox, for whom he’s now a contributing member of the bullpen. The Yankees also don’t need another lefty! They have Zack Britton on the mend, as well as Justin Wilson and Lucas Luetge in the bullpen. Maybe Peralta comes in handy down the road, but the Yankees watched their stock plummet in value and decided to sell low. Any GM knows that’s the wrong move.
The Yankees had bullpen and starting rotation needs well before this season. Those deficiencies were well-documented in 2019, which is when moving Tauchman would have made sense. Trade him for a pitcher after the ’19 season, bolster the staff, and be done with it. You still have four starting-caliber outfielders.
This isn’t about Yankees fans being mad just to be mad. It’s just another short-sighted move by the front office in which the decision-makers waited too long to pull the trigger.
And when fans can easily spot that, it’s a problem