“He’s getting Tommy John because he needs it. That’s the bottom line,” Cashman said in this afternoons Yankees Press Conference (aired on the Official Yankees Facebook page Live), when announcing that Aaron Hicks would miss 8-10 months due to Tommy John Surgery. These words resonating with the fan base, spreading fan-theories like wildfire. Relax. Everything is okay.
If you’ve watched any of the Playoffs this season you could tell that Hicks was not himself. Going 2 for 13, batting .154 and overall looking in pain when he slightly tweaks something. Aside from his 3 run home run in game 5, the question was there – what’s wrong? Asked and answered.
Cashman was hesitant on the information he released, as Hicks wished to keep it as quiet as possible, but it was disclosed that around 51-55% (based on what he could remember off the top of his head) was torn in the UCL of Hicks. Earlier in the season when Hicks had missed time due to an elbow injury, before returning for the ALCS, it was this exact issue. At the time of returning however, they believed he would not need surgery.
With Hicks being out, a seemingly unhealthy Stanton, and a defensive nightmare in Clint Frazier, the question becomes – Who’s the next man up? Now keep in mind, during this article the positions given to certain players are going to be where they could/would most likely play. Not their depth chart position. 2019 is over. It’s time to look forward.
Most eyes would look to see who do we have. Aaron Judge is the face of the Yankees right now. Rightfully so. When he is healthy, there’s not many guys who can play outfield while being the same size as NBA Centers. . . At least do it well. On top of defensively, his offense capabilities are record shattering, literally. His position in Right Field is safe.
So what about center? Good question. Tough question. The Yankees do still have Jacoby Ellsbury, yea remember him? It’s possible that Ellsbury could in fact fill that role, but after 2 weeks of the season, they are going to need a backup for his time off due to injuries. So what about Gardner? He’s been a staple of the Yankees for years now and is always a consistent player. But as his age starts to catch him and the best aspect of his game, speed, starts to slow, the question remains as to how well he can hold up another full season of both offensive and defensive play. He’s still a better option than Ellsbury, but, they need to prepare to give him rest.
Then we look at left field. Assuming Giancarlo Stanton is healthy, that doesn’t look like an awful outfield. Judge, Gardner, Stanton. But that’s the issue, assuming things. Stanton is no doubt a force to be reckoned with, but since his arrival in New York he has not earned his pay with the amount of time he has had to miss due to injury. With that sort of unreliability, Cashman needs to begin looking at options for a primary center and secondary left field player.
The Yankees do have Cameron Maybin as a potential pickup. He knows the guys, he is a decent player, and he is willing to put the work in. You put him in Centerfield and maybe at first there are some nerves and jitters, but the chances of him filling that role and succeeding are very likely. If that is not the route they decide, then there will likely be options.
As for Left Field, bringing Gardner back to play that year and let him retire a Yankee is not only classy, but at this point a necessity. Give him some rest periods or split time with Mike Tauchman. This would be a very good combination rounding out the other corner of the outfield.
The only issue then is, who’s the relief? Well, that’s what farm systems are for, as well as cheap free agent pickups. As long as Frazier is not in the Clubhouse, the team should be just fine defensively, as well as maintain the same offensive power.
What do you think the Yankees should do? Let us know below!
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