Yankees plotting potential Oswaldo Cabrera role change is worrying


There isn’t a New York Yankees fan out there who disagrees with the team’s decision to promote prospect Oswaldo Cabrera. While the 23-year-old is still getting acclimated to MLB pitching, he’s delivered several clutch hits and he’s quickly established himself as one of the game’s premier right fielders.

No, we’re not kidding.

A lifetime infielder, Cabrera has started games at right field, third base, shortstop and second base since his August promotion. At the start of this week, Cabrera had just 91 innings in right field this season. Despite that, he ranks eighth at the position, with +7 defensive runs saved and 14th with four outfield assists as of Sept. 6.

The importance of Cabrera’s defensive versatility cannot be understated. With Aaron Judge patrolling center field, Cabrera’s cannon for an arm in right field makes the Yankees that much more defensively sound. Might as well keep trotting him out there until he gives them a reason not to, right?

Unfortunately, injuries have forced the Yankees into making a rather head-scratching decision regarding Cabrera’s positioning.

With DJ LeMahieu and Anthony Rizzo on the shelf, Cabrera was seen taking reps at first base before Friday’s game.

Yankees working out Oswaldo Cabrera at first base makes no sense.

Wait, what? Why put your most versatile defender at the position that gives him the fewest opportunities to flash the leather and his arm?

Nobody wants to see Marwin Gonzalez given another chance at first after he went a combined 0-for-8 in the first two games against Tampa Bay, but why not experiment with Josh Donaldson, who’s been prone to the occasional gaffe at third?

What about Isaiah Kiner-Falefa or Gleyber Torres? All three players have a penchant for committing costly errors. Why not stick (hide) one of them at first to keep Cabrera in right field until Rizzo returns?

Need we remind New York that Cabrera was a hair way from delivering his fifth (!) outfield assist of the season on Saturday? A slight bobble on the exchange before he fired a missile to home proved to be the difference and the call was overturned upon further review, but Gonzalez simply isn’t doing this, folks.

Nothing about moving Cabrera to first makes sense. The good news is Rizzo is scheduled to resume baseball activities on Sunday after he received a blood patch to expedite his recovery from an epidural injection.

Aaron Boone is hopeful Rizzo returns for the upcoming five-game road trip, which stars Tuesday in Boston. If that was actually the case, would the Yankees really be working out Cabrera at Rizzo’s everyday position? At this juncture, any speculation is warranted.

Maybe Cabrera doesn’t get any reps at first when all is said and done, but the fact the Yankees are even considering sacrificing their outfield defense with their offense struggling to manufacture runs (Saturday’s outburst notwithstanding) is worrying on multiple fronts.

Let’s hope Rizzo meets Boone’s speculative timetable so we don’t have to see how this experiment blows up in the team’s face.