The New York Yankees anticipate Aaron Judge’s return on Tuesday against the Oakland Athletics. After a dominating performance against Oakland on Monday night without him, Judge’s presence in the batting lineup should provide a significant offensive boost.
However, with Judge coming off the injured list, the Yankees will have to demote or DFA a player currently on the 26-man roster.
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Three players the Yankees could demote/drop when Aaron Judge returns:
1.) Jake Bauers
Recently called up from Triple-A Scranton, Jake Bauers might be sent back down by the Yankees. In five games, he’s hit .100 with a .182 OBP, one homer, one RBI, and a 54 wRC+. Bauers didn’t get many chances after a few defensive errors, making him a prime candidate for reassignment to the minor-league system.
The Yankees initially expected Bauers to continue his hot streak in the Bronx, but the talent gap is significant, and most players require an adjustment period. While 11 plate appearances aren’t enough to draw general conclusions about Bauers, he may reappear later to help with fatigue or injury.
2.) Aaron Hicks
Despite Aaron Hicks hitting a two-run homer against Oakland on Monday, he has been one of the Yankees’ biggest liabilities this season. He has a .153 average with a .212 OBP, one homer, four RBIs, and a 23 wRC+. With a -0.7 WAR, that single home run isn’t enough to justify keeping Hicks on the roster, suggesting a surprising move might be in order.
The only option the Yankees have is to DFA him and absorb the remaining $20 million over the next two seasons, along with his salary for this year. General manager Brian Cashman may attempt to trade him, but given his negative value, he would likely need to include a prospect to persuade another team to cover part of Hicks’ salary.
Considering the Yankees’ front office, Hicks is probably the least likely of the three to be removed.
3.) Oswald Peraza
Oswald Peraza, who has recently been riding the bench, is the most likely candidate for demotion. The Yankees would prefer Peraza to continue his development and play regularly, but they are currently wasting his service time. Cashman might see Peraza as a valuable trade asset, especially if Gleyber Torres has secured his place on the roster and the Yankees are considering signing him for the long term.
Peraza is batting .188 with a .316 OBP, but 38 plate appearances aren’t enough to make any major decisions. However, there’s no reason for Oswald not to get at-bats, given that the Yankees don’t have a designated hitter at the moment, and they could easily give a few players a defensive day off to include him in the lineup.