BRONX, N.Y. — The New York Yankees won more than 100 games in both 2018 and 2019. The main reason that this was possible, was the team’s depth. Every position had the capability to be played by multiple players at a high level. When a roster is constructed like this, injuries to your best players won’t cause the team to crash a burn. The saying “next man up” has shown to be necessary over the course of a 162 game season.
When examining the Yankees’ current outfield, it’s evident that the team needs more outfield depth. As of now, the team has Clint Fraizer in leftfield, Aaron Hicks in centerfield, and Aaron Judge in rightfield. If healthy and available this outfield core is loaded. But that’s the thing, I said, “if healthy.” This has been a challenge for Judge for the last three years. Since the start of the 2018 season, the outfielder has played in only 242 of 384 regular-season games. That’s about 63%. Many stints to the IL has caused a lot of critiques to conclude that a player of his build cannot stay healthy for a full 162 game season. Whether this is true or not, the Yankees need to be prepared for this very possible reality.
Out in center, Hicks has had his fair share of injuries too. Although his health isn’t as criticized as much as Judges, Yankees fans need to at least be skeptical after Hick’s comments last week. After playing the full 2020 season, Hicks said, “I still kind of don’t feel the same.” Hicks went on to describe a light pain he still has throwing and how he never got to “feel healthy” in 2020. This is completely understandable, as Tommy John surgery has a long recovery time. Although understandable, Hick’s production most definitely took a hit. Hopefully, Hicks will be able to have a bounce-back in 2021 but with his numbers down and his health uncertain, more depth in center would not be a bad idea.
In left, Fraizer has proved himself to finally win the job. He most certainly has a bright future in baseball. But unlike our other two outfielders, Fraizer has yet to play a complete season at the major league level due to being so young and voyaging between AAA and the show. This does not scare me at all, as Fraizer will most likely be replacing Brett Gardner in 2021. However, this change takes out one of our only left-handed hitters and replaces him with another righty. Due to our righty dominant lineup, having a backup for Frazier who hits from the left side of the plate is a good idea.
Other than these three, the Yankees have both Mike Tauchman and Miguel Andujar has current fourth or fifth options. Tauchman’s 2020 was awful. In 2019, he hit 13 homers in 87 games. This year he didn’t hit any in 43 games. Not just his power but all his numbers were down. He wasn’t that spark plug he was in 2019. I don’t think you can completely abandon a player after only 43 games but his inconsistency should at least worry fans. Andujar on the other hand has proven that he isn’t a major league outfielder. After attempting that stunt, it seems like the Yankees have given up on that fantasy.
Some fans want another year of Gardner. Others want the Yankees to go after someone new. Either way, the history of our current outfield should have Yankees fans wishing for more depth and another option in the outfield.