Coming into Spring Training, it was expected that Tyler Wade would assume the role of the New York Yankees utility man. His speed and ability to play both infield and outfield made the team high on him despite his poor hitting. However, things could potentially be changing for the 26-year-old. Wade has struggled this spring and hasn’t shown any improvement on the offensive end since his debut in 2017. Could this potentially be the end of the road for Wade?
Fortunately for him, his competitors for the utility role haven’t performed well either. However, manager Aaron Boone said earlier in Spring Training that he wants experience on his roster. Wade doesn’t have a ton of MLB experience, but eight-year veteran Derek Dietrich does.
Dietrich gives the Yankees lefty power, something the team really lacks. A guy like Tyler Wade doesn’t have home run power, but can put balls in the gap for doubles. Three of his seven hits this spring are for extra bases. Dietrich has had stronger power numbers in the last few seasons, even putting up an OPS greater than .800 in 2020 despite a sub-.200 batting average.
As mentioned earlier, the downside of having Dietrich over Wade is speed and defense. Altough Dietrich can play second, third, and left field, he isn’t a strong defender nor very fast. If the team had greater roster space, both players would be assets to the MLB team, but it doesn’t seem plausible to carry both right now. The team would rather carry another pitcher over a back-up infielder.
A third player in the equation is Thairo Estrada. In 23 Spring Training plate appearance, his OPS is below .600, giving him a very low chance to make the team. Similarly to Wade, Estrada is fast and versatile but lacks a lot of offense. He does, however, have more pop in his bat compared to Wade.
So, by the looks of it, Derek Dietrich could be on the MLB roster to open up the 2021 season. The only problem is that the Yankees 40-man roster is full, meaning the team would have to clear space to sign him to a MLB contract. In addition to Dietrich, Jay Bruce is seemingly in a similar position, as he’s had a strong Spring Training and in position to make the team.
The Yankees will have tough decisions if they want to keep both Dietrich and Bruce on the team. One name that comes to mind as to who could be moved is Mike Tauchman. Tauchman bat just .208 with a .698 OPS this spring and could be on his way out. He struggled last season as well, but if the Yankees were to place him on waivers, it shouldn’t take long for him to be picked up by a team.
Another name who could be on the move is Mike Ford. He’s just 3-for-23 this spring, and is coming off a disappointing 2020 campaign that saw him go 7-of-36.
The Yankees could also consider moving on from Tyler Wade completely. He has a minor league option remaining, however, a change of scenery could be what’s best for him. If he were to have an opportunity with a rebuilding franchise, it could be his best chance to make a serious major league career. The way he’s going with the Yankees, he’ll never get the opportunity he truly desires.
Wade is entering the prime of this career, and he certainly doesn’t want to spend it on the Yankees bench or in AAA. DJ LeMahieu and Gleyber Torres aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, meaning Wade will never get an extended starting opportunity in New York. Moving on from Wade will give Derek Dietrich a shot with the Yankees and allow for Wade to have an opportunity with another team.