The New York Yankees might shock their fans in the best way possible for the first time in a while. It seems there's been a change in philosophy after the outrage that has stemmed from their postseason disappointments dating back to 2018.
This spring, however, it feels like the Yankees are fostering an environment to ensure they (for the most part) have the best possible roster on the field come Opening Day. That means no more jerking around prospects, no guaranteeing jobs to an endless glut of veterans simply because of how much they make, and making the leash shorter for those who have had plenty of chances.
That's all being epitomized with the situation surrounding Anthony Volpe, who initially wasn't expected to be the team's Opening Day starter at shortstop but has continued to force the issue during Spring Training. The Yankees have allowed the issue to be forced. They haven't resisted.
There's been a trail of crumbs suggesting Volpe coming north with the team on March 30 could be a reality. Some insiders and pundits have weighed in to further drive that point home.
But, on Friday, we perhaps got the biggest indication yet: The Athletic is reporting that Volpe is "getting support from high-level voices" within the organization to earn the nod over Oswald Peraza next week.
Signs are pointing to Anthony Volpe winning Yankees starting shortstop job
Here's a blurb from Brendan Kuty's article from Friday morning (subscription required):
"Many emphasized the club has been determined to put the best possible team on the field for Opening Day — and that Volpe’s strong debut, coupled with Peraza’s struggles, could put the New Jersey native in the lead ... They cautioned, though, that nothing has been determined yet, and a decision could come down to the last minute with roster construction potentially playing a factor. The Yankees are overflowing with big-league middle infielders, and sending down Volpe to start the season might be their easiest path, buying them time to decide the fates of others."- Brendan Kuty, The Athletic
From the start, the Yankees haven't wavered. General manager Brian Cashman told Volpe back in November that he would have a shot to win the Opening Day job. Then you had Aaron Judge weighing in. Insiders like Buster Olney and Peter Gammons suggested it could be a reality. And then the obvious wrinkle: the Yankees have yet to option Volpe and continue to give him front-and-center reps over Peraza.
Volpe started off scorching hot. Though he's cooled off, he's still maintained top-notch consistency compared to most of the other players at camp, especially Peraza, who has struggled mightily with his bat (.171 AVG., .607 OPS). Though he impressed in actual big-league action at the tail end of last year, that might not matter.
Long before Peraza made his MLB debut, everything pointed to Volpe being "the guy." That's never changed. And that's why the discourse is here. Turns out the Yankees might not have been lying for once.