Just missed this list? Brett Gardner throwing out the first pitch. Still won’t rule it out.
With Yankees Opening Day just a few short days away — under 100 hours! — the roster feels nearly set, with room for a potential trade splash or Gardy signing still en route. Will it be Frankie Montas? Hell no! Will it be someone like ex-Rays reliever David McKay, who the Yanks suddenly have to protect? Yes, absolutely!
Regardless, other than dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s, the Yankees will be ready for their rival Red Sox in the Bronx, the start of a heinous slate featuring both Boston and Toronto to open the campaign.
Of course … the best-laid plans often go awry, and that goes for the fans as well. Some things the fan base has likely counted out will be confronting them this week, whether they like it or not.
As much as you might hate the idea, Opening Day is ceremonial. It’s also just one singular contest of a 162-game marathon. Some things that will eventually be deemed deleterious to the Yankees fulfilling their ultimate goal will go down in the opener.
Hell, it might take the team 100 games to solve their glaring issues. Or, if we’re talking 2021, when the season opened with some RISP fail and Mike Tauchman stranded at third, they may never get to the bottom of things.
Don’t judge a book by its cover, and don’t judge the 2022 Yankees by their Opening Day performance. Notice how many times I said “Judge” in that sentence? His finish line is approaching, too — or, according to Carlos Beltran, it’s already been crossed. We’re predicting a Judge extension before the opener, likely announced when the team returns to the Bronx, but we’re putting it in the intro instead of on its own slide so it can be easily deleted if it happens before publication. Science!
As for the other three? Yankee fans should be surprised by how little they’re surprised by these possibilities.
3 Opening Day surprises Yankees fans should be prepared for vs Red Sox
3. Gleyber Torres Starts at Shortstop
Remember when using Gleyber Torres at short was “ruining him mentally”? And the Bombers had unlocked him once again by declaring him a full-time second baseman? Hey, that’s dynamite.
Anyway, he’s the backup shortstop now and started at the position in the spring’s final preseason game. And, for ceremonial purposes in the opener, using Gleyber at short and DJ LeMahieu at second base might be the safest way to slide the veterans in there before Isiah Kiner-Falefa eventually starts ~130 games.
LeMahieu out-OPS+’d Torres in 2021 despite battling a core muscle issue that eventually needed surgery, yet somehow, the Yankees’ plan is to place him on the bench to open the season and just assume he’ll worm his way back into the order? Odds are … he will do just that, as he did in 2019 when the Opening Day shortstop who bumped him off the field was Troy Tulowitzki. Miguel Andújar started at third! 2019!
While it’s a safe assumption that either Josh Donaldson or Torres will get hurt at some point in 2022, necessitating additional LeMahieu reps, the opener feels like a safe place for Torres to play short and LeMahieu to play second, in much the same way Gary Sánchez caught Gerrit Cole in last year’s first game and then basically never did it again.
Sorry, IKF. Your Yankee indoctrination will have to wait. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.