New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone has any number of configurations he can come up with from this roster, limited as it is by the injury to Gregorius. Fans cannot just assume that the positioning will be as it was last season, especially with the shortcomings of Andujar on defense at third base and those of Bird on offense across the diamond.
The infield personnel on the 40-man roster:
The Yankees have not signed free-agent shortstop and third baseman Manny Machado, which would have gone a long way towards clarifying the infield now that Gregorius is not anchoring it with his veteran presence.
Rather, the Yankees signed Tulowitzki to shore up the infield in Gregoriusâ€™ absence. Tulowitzki is a risk at this juncture in his career. Heâ€™s been out the majority of two seasons with injuries and is at least four seasons away from his All-Star years with the Colorado Rockies.
What do the Yankees expect of Tulowitzki?
According to General Manager Brian Cashman, the Yankees are committed to Tulowitzki at shortstop.
Brian Cashman, on if Troy Tulowitzki takes them out of the Manny Machado hunt:
“I can’t say what it would take us out of, but we’re going into this with a commitment level to try Troy Tulowitzki at shortstop.”
â€” Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) January 4, 2019
Now whether there is some level of gamesmanship being played by Cashman in the Machado sweepstakes here is anybody’s guess, but it appears that the Yankees will start the season with Tulowitzki at shortstop.
One of the many configurations of the infield would then have Tulowitzki surrounded by Torres at second base, Voit at first base and Andujar at third base. Â Fans can only hope that Andujar’s range has increased and that Tulowitzki’s has not diminished, as the left side of the infield was a defensive minefield last season.
On the other side of Tulowitzki, virtually two players in their second year of big league baseball. Â Both Torres and Voit had outstanding years offensively, but defensively, both need work and experience.
In this scenario, DJ LeMahieu would be the utility man, coming off the bench when called on, perhaps even as a defensive replacement.
In another configuration of the infield, Torres would be at shortstop, anchoring the infield, with Andjuar at third base, DJ LeMahieu with his Gold Gloves at second base and Voit at first base. Â Again, the left side of the infield is a bit of a question mark with two poor defenders there.
Throughout the course of the offseason, fans have heard suggestions that Andujar, because of his poor defense, should be moved to first base or left field and Both positions have their own unique challenges as we go into the ’19 season. Â The outfield currently has five players for three spots and there is a battle brewing for first base between Bird and Voit. Â Why would you put Andujar into either of these two mixes?
Voit, however, has Cashman’s endorsement and it’s up to Bird to fight to regain the first base job.
So what configuration will Opening Day feature for the Yankee infield? Â With Machado and Harper and other free agents still available are the Yankees done acquiring personnel for the ’19 season? Â The Yankee infield will wear many faces in ’19, as the team mixes and matches players to field the best defensive infield possible with whoever is most healthy and productive.