Right now, the Yankees are in a very weird situation. Due to all the injuries to start the season, the players who were supposed to lead this Yankees team to wins are gone and most of the backups have been leading the team to wins recently. Some have even been questioned if they can stay when the regulars come back. So that brings up this question: what will happen to some of the replacement players when the regular starters return from injury?
The catcher position is set with Gary Sanchez and Austin Romine; it’s one of the few positions that is stable. First base is another pretty set position with Luke Voit and DJ LeMahieu, and it pretty much means Greg Bird won’t have a spot on this team anymore, even when he returns. At second base, the position is also pretty much set with Gleyber Torres and DJ LeMahieu; DJ can play all around the infield, but is probably best defensively at second. He was the recipient of a Gold Glove award last year playing with Colorado. However, the position is still probably Gleyber’s position. At third base, the position is probably set with Gio Urshela as of right now. Urshela has played excellent in Miguel Andujar’s absence, which leads Yankees nation to believe that he will end up starting at third for the rest of the seasons due to Andujar’s season ending surgery. Shortstop is another very open position because of injuries. With Gleyber Torres playing shortstop at the moment, Didi Gregorius (who has been getting better every year but will miss half the year due to having Tommy John surgery) seems to be on the fast track back to the Yankees lineup. Troy Tulowitzki is the last player that had a shot at shortshop to start the season, but injuries have derailed his chance. Tulo signed a contract with the Yankees for the league minimum amount in an effort to prove that he is still an MLB caliber player for a winning team. His chance with the Yankees is very unlikely if Didi returns from the IL before he does.
The outfield with Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Hicks and Aaron Judge is set, but the Yankees do need a fourth outfielder when they all come back from the IL. One candidate who is pretty likely is Brett Gardner. He is a veteran who has been with the team longer than anyone else. This obviously helps him, but he is showing his age almost fully now and is regressing heavily. Another outfielder that has a real chance to make the team is Clint Frazier, who before getting injured was on fire. Since he has been back, he has been consistent, but the only thing that holds him back is his fielding. Also, he doesn’t walk enough which would make him a candidate to go back down to Triple A and work those kinks out. The last outfielder who has a shot to win the fourth spot is Cameron Maybin, who no one even expected to be with the Yankees this year. For the short time he has been there, he has given the Yankees good defense in the outfield, pretty good hitting even without power, and is still pretty solid on the basepath even with his age of 32. If he can keep it up, he can steal the fourth outfielder job out from underneath Frazier and Gardner this year.
This year will maybe be a tougher one than it has to be because of an abundance of injuries. However, if they can get healthy quickly, their starters can take over and bring this team to the next level. The Yankees should have no problem marinating their first place division lead throughout the rest of the season, however if they do slip and get more injuries, they will always have the money to acquire more stars in trade. But for now, all Yankees fans should sit back, relax, and enjoy their season.