Yankees fans should be afraid the wrong player will lose reps to JD Davis

One night only. But please stop doing this.
Colorado Rockies v Oakland Athletics
Colorado Rockies v Oakland Athletics / Lachlan Cunningham/GettyImages

If slugger JD Davis represents a platoon option at first/third base and an effective DH during Giancarlo Stanton's recovery, then the Yankees can do no wrong. That would be a prime example of using the month of July as an effective audition period, as well as working quickly to plug a predictable hole in Stanton's absence.

But if they insist on using Davis to diminish Ben Rice's reps, less than a week after making the bold and wise decision to promote their top prospect into the Anthony Rizzo void, with the perfect amount of time before the trade deadline to make an educated evaluation? Then we have a problem here.

There's no kind way to say it, but fan favorite DJ LeMahieu, sporting a 36 OPS+, has done more than enough to prove that he should be the current odd man out in any Yankees lineup machinations. Instead, Davis' debut will come at first base Tuesday night in the Subway Series against his former team, with LeMahieu starting at third.

The Yankees are allowed the benefit of the doubt for a short while here. Mets starter David Peterson is a left-hander, making Davis an effective matchup play (.795 OPS against lefties this season, career OPS 16 points higher vs. southpaws). But if Davis and LeMahieu start and leave Rice cold on Wednesday against another lefty in Sean Manaea, the alarm bells would be worthwhile. After all, learning about Rice left-on-left is more valuable than clearing a path for LeMahieu these days.

Yankees should give DJ LeMahieu's reps to JD Davis

When the Yankees signed LeMahieu to a six-year, AAV-reducing contract after the 2020 season, the hope was that he'd mature into an effective bench piece, at the very least. Unfortunately, repeated foot injuries appear to have sapped his effectiveness well beyond that point; his power has evaporated as he's ridden swiftly up the aging curve's incline.

Davis would be best served as a do-it-all option during his first few weeks in the Bronx, but third base feels like his clearest opportunity on non-DH days. The Yankees can now offer half-rest days for their most important sluggers, rotating key players through the designated hitter position while Giancarlo Stanton recuperates. Davis will be a part of that, but calling him a full-time DH does a disservice to this ragged team's best interests.

So does resting Rice without getting a full picture of his current abilities, though. If the Yankees default to using Davis at first against left-handers without questioning LeMahieu's role, an already top-heavy lineup could get stale quite quickly, without clarifying much of anything about the way the Yankees will attack first base at the deadline.

Unless Davis flat-out mashes, of course.