There’s a fine line between putting all of your eggs in one basket and celebrating just how damn fine the basket looks in the meantime.
All winter long, Volpe has been viewed as untouchable — and rightly so — in theoretical trades with the Oakland Athletics and … well, no, just the A’s. After all, the Yankees didn’t build their elite shortstop depth just to sell the crown jewel.
Apparently, they didn’t build it to do much of anything, but that’s beside the point.
The MLB Lockout benefitted almost nobody, but it gave Volpe a bit of extra shine and a chance to showcase himself in Florida alongside Jasson Dominguez and the rest of the non-40-man names.
Now that big-league spring has officially begun, the Yankees are making no secret of how essential they view their 2019 first-rounder in their not-so-distant future plans.
Volpe’s importance can be seen in the moves that haven’t been made for Carlos Correa and Trevor Story, despite Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s early efforts to become a fan favorite, too. But it’s also present in the breadcrumbs the Bombers are dropping as they try to write his narrative a year and a half ahead of schedule.
When Volpe arrived at MLB camp, he found jersey No. 70 waiting for him, the very same ‘fit once rocked by the man whose trajectory the kid is trying to mimic.
Anthony Volpe wore Derek Jeter’s camp No. 70 with the Yankees
Can’t give him the No. 2 jersey? Well, might as well go back to where it all started, huh?
By the time his in-game debut arrived on Sunday afternoon, though, the Yankees had done something perhaps even more telling to telegraph their intentions.
Against the Detroit Tigers, Volpe emerged from the dugout to flash his quick hands mid-game wearing the number 14 (!!!), which had to chap Estevan Florial, who’s been here forever and is still rocking 90.
Needless to say, wearing a number that low makes you a big leaguer. Getting Aaron Judge to post a posed picture of you with him and Giancarlo Stanton? That makes you the missing piece.
Volpe enters 2022 with tremendous pressure thrust upon him. Last year, he was just the good-field, no-hit first-round pick heading to Tampa for his first game action since 2019.
Now? He’s MLB Pipeline’s No. 8 prospect in the game and the No. 1 reason the Yankees held firm on their budget this offseason, for better or worse.
In other words, fans must be more patient with him than the Yanks have been so far. This will not always be easy. But it has been laid out pretty clearly in recent days.