Giancarlo Stanton is on fire right now. New York Yankees fans have been impatiently waiting for that to happen.
But even if he’s tearing the cover off the ball, you know the dismal stretches like we’ve seen at the start of the year are always around the corner. And, in a sense, it makes him even less valuable because of his inability (?) to play defense.
Remember in spring training when we were told Stanton would be getting reps in the outfield ahead of the regular season so he’d be prepared? Never happened.
Remember when manager Aaron Boone said we could expect to see Stanton to play some outfield during the regular season? It’s been a month. Still nothing.
So what’s the deal? Is this just … not going to happen?
Why do we ask that? Because with the amount of slumping players the Yankees have had to start the year (especially slumping outfielders!), Boone hasn’t even flinched regarding this decision. And Stanton’s already had three games off.
Yankees DH Giancarlo Stanton is on fire…but he’s not playing OF.
Perhaps Boone is waiting to see if Stanton can continue to remain healthy, which isn’t surprising because he’s played in just 41 games out of a possible 222 in 2019 and 2020. Until he proves the soft tissue injuries and lower body ailments are behind him for a stretch longer than 25 games, he’s probably not going to sniff the outfield.
An opportunity (kind of) arose in regard to opening the door for Stanton to eventually play defense, however.
The Bombers traded Mike Tauchman to the San Francisco Giants for reliever Wandy Peralta on Tuesday, which took the fifth outfielder off of their bench. Now, it’s just Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks, Clint Frazier and Brett Gardner.
What happens if one of those guys gets injured? The Yankees are not going to use Tyler Wade out there, that’s for sure.
Also, when you think of the possibilities with this lineup when Stanton can play the field, they’re incredibly advantageous for just about everyone else. This boom-or-bust group of sluggers are prone to droughts more than most, and it’d greatly benefit some if Boone could give them a night off from playing defense by slotting them into DH role.
That could’ve done wonders for the team over the last four weeks. Frazier, Hicks, Gleyber Torres, Gary Sanchez and DJ LeMahieu could’ve all used multiple breathers of that variety at some point (and some of them still could!).
Flexibility is key for this Yankees lineup. Maybe they realize that sooner than fans hope. Maybe they’re waiting for Stanton to settle in and prove he can remain healthy. Maybe trading Tauchman was the first step in the process. But we still haven’t heard the words “Stanton” and “defense” in the same sentence, so this subject is just about as clear as it was two months ago.