Before you read this, take a deep breath. Relax. Yes, the Yankees are 5-6. The starting rotation hasn’t been good outside of Gerrit Cole. Most of the lineup is cold. Defensively they’ve been horrific. And the baserunning blunders don’t help either. All of that being said, I truly think the Yankees will be fine.
Jordan Montgomery’s shown a lot of promise, and I have confidence that Jameson Taillon & Corey Kluber will be fine too. Guys like Giancarlo Stanton, Gleyber Torres & Aaron Hicks will come around. And the defense will immediately get better once Jay Bruce is off the team, whenever that happens. All of that being said, there’s still one huge issue on this Yankees team: middle infield depth.
Sure, they added Rougned Odor and he had a huge hit in his first game as a Yankee. We have no idea what he’ll do with the bat, but we know one thing for sure: he’s not a shortstop. Odor took Tyler Wade’s spot on the team, thus forcing Gio Urshela to be the team’s second option at shortstop after Torres. No, I am not advocating for Wade at all.
Tyler Wade is not good
Wade made the team out of spring as the 5th infielder. Shockingly, the career 57 OPS+ player was not good and promptly sent back to AAA. Despite Wade’s defensive versatility and speed, he’s a brutal hitter, bad baserunner, and not a great fielder. The fact that Brian Cashman went into the season thinking Wade was a viable option to back up Gleyber is mind-boggling. Who could’ve seen that one coming?
Because of the fact that the Yankees don’t have a competent backup shortstop, they have to rotate their guys around to make things work. And I say “work” very loosely because it significantly downgrades our defensive alignment. Gleyber missed last night’s game because he jammed his finger on Monday. This forced Gio to start at shortstop with DJ at third base. Those guys are both great defenders who can hold their own at secondary positions. But that’s what they are, guys playing secondary positions. The Yankee defense is at its best with Urshela at third base & LeMahieu at second, plain and simple. Throw in Bruce at first base and the Bombers are just an absolute mess defensively right now. If they had a competent shortstop to spell Gleyber, they could keep everyone else in their best positions instead of the mess they have going on right now. Which brings me to my final point.
A defensive sub for Gleyber would be nice
I’m not saying right now. Early in the season, let him go through his growing pains at short, as brutal as they may be. We can re-assess in a few months whether or not Gleyber is capable of holding down shortstop for the rest of the season. If not, maybe they make a move for someone like Trevor Story. Unfortunately, I doubt that happens. Hopefully, Gleyber does improve to the point that his defense isn’t an issue going into the playoffs. But what if it is?
There’s nobody on the roster right now that makes sense as a defensive replacement at shortstop late in games. I think it’s critical for them to add somebody who fits this bill at the trade deadline. At minimum, an Adeiny Hechavarria glove-first type of guy. (Obligatory clip when you mention him)
Ideally, I wanted/still want somebody who hits better too that can play a few days a week and spell all the infield guys. But regardless, a glove-first backup shortstop is an absolute must in case Gleyber’s struggles continue.
How do you think the Yankees should address their depth at short? Let me know in the comments or tweet me @ncostanzo24