The Yankees may be slowly stealing playing time away from one struggling infielder

Alexander Wilson
oswaldo cabrera, yankees
Aug 20, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees second baseman Oswaldo Cabrera (95) fields a ground ball against the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tom Horak-USA TODAY Sports

When the New York Yankees announced they were calling up Estevan Florial and Oswaldo Cabrera from their Triple-A squad, it was quite clear they were looking to provide a spark and supplement some playing time in both the outfield and infield.

Florial was always meant to steal playing time away from Aaron Hicks, who has been performing miserably in the month of August. Over a 43 at-bat sample size, Hicks is hitting .116 with a 20.8% on-base rate. He last played on August 17, pinch-hitting for one at-bat, contributing nothing despite Josh Donaldson’s walk-off Grand Slam.

However, fans were intrigued to see where Oswaldo Cabrera would feature. He’s played third base, shortstop, and right field. The Yankees might be looking to steal some playing time away from Isiah Kiner-Falefa, sitting two games over the past five, counting Sunday afternoon’s matinee.

The Yankees have gotten a spark plug in Oswaldo Cabrera:

Over four games, Cabrera has offered some offensive spark, tallying three hits over 15 at-bats. It was always going to require some time for him to adjust to MLB pitching, but he’s made solid contact for the most part and showed a bit of power in his swing.

Considering Cabrera hit nine homers with 32 RBIs before being called up, including seven in the month of July, it is evident he’s capable of clearing the outfield fence with ease. IKF just recorded his first homer of the season several days ago against the Boston Red Sox, but otherwise, he’s been disappointing in the slugging category.

In fact, IKF has only two hits in his last six games, walking twice in that time span. Offensively, he’s been extremely poor, coming off two consecutive months with dismal on-base rates.

However, Cabrera is a stout defensive player, already recording two defensive runs saved above average in just four games playing the field. He looks like a natural at shortstop, making routine plays and showing off his athleticism. IKF has good range and solid athleticism but struggles with routine opportunities a little too often.

With IKF sitting on Sunday afternoon, it is clear the Yankees are trying to shake things up and give Cabrera more reps. If he can begin to show off some of that elite power he contains from the left side of the batter’s box, his value will skyrocket moving forward.