New York Yankees’ Shortstops: Love the one you’re with

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on reddit

The New York Yankees find themselves in the unique position of having an abundance of shortstops who can, and, in the absence of Didi Gregorius, will play the position until his return sometime in June.

Troy Tulowitzki was signed by General Manager Brian Cashman in a move that some have called genius, as Cashman sidestepped the high dollar free agents and opted instead for Tulowitzki for the league minimum with the Blue Jays paying the remainder of his salary in 2019.

Can the New York Yankees trust their veteran infielder?

As fans are well aware by now, Tulowitzki did not play at all in 2018 and had very limited playing time in 2017 due to numerous injuries.

Tulowitzki stepped into the batters’ box on Monday against Marcus Stroman of the Blue Jays and appeared to put all of that behind him with one swing of the bat – he went yard two pitches into his first at-bat in a year and a half and just like that Cashman’s gamble would appear to have paid off.

One swing in spring training does not make a season, and the Yankees have Gleyber Torres to spell Tulowitzki as he is eased back into an everyday role. Torres played shortstop through the Cubs’ minor-league system before he was dealt to the Yankees in 2016.

Torres started 15 games and had a .928 fielding percentage at shortstop in ’18, as opposed to the .970  fielding percentage he had at second base.  The Yankees have not wanted to move Torres around and instead prefer him to continue to solidify his defensive skills at second base.

The 24-year-old Tyler Wade is vying for a bench spot in ’19 and over the weekend, he had the hot bat, with 4 hits in 5 at-bats, three of those hits for doubles.  Wade is a lefty who profiles as a good glove man but who has never had success offensively at the major league level.  He is a career .161/.218/.250 hitter with the Yankees.

Cashman has said that he is committed to Tulowitzki at shortstop in Gregorius’ absence, with the All-Star and Gold Glove winner getting the majority of the playing time.

Yankee fans question whether Tulowitzki will remain healthy enough and have the stamina to play every day or whether there will be a round robin at shortstop with Wade and Torres seeing more playing time, especially to start the season.

Regardless of who holds down the shortstop position for the New York Yankees in 2019, the infield defense is one area where the Yankees need improvement.  The longer Tulowitzki can stay on the field, the better the Yankees will be on defense this season.

Can Tulo be consistent?

What will be interesting to see is whether Tulowitzki can keep up the pace offensively as his batting averages had dipped in the three years prior to 2017 when he went out with injuries.  He hit .239 in 2015, .254 in 2016 and .249 in 2017 in limited games.

I don’t believe the Yankees brought Tulowitzki in for his power, though he’s been known to have some pop in his bat, but instead for his glove.

Whatever the Yankees get out of the shortstop position offensively while Gregorius is out, is gravy.  There will be plenty of heavy hitters on the team to provide the offensive impetus for this team.

As for Yankee shortstops this spring, my advice to you, is love the one you’re with –  Tulowitzki, Wade and Torres will all contribute to the success of the team coming out of the gate.