When the MLB officially announced the halting of baseball operations two weeks ago, the New York Yankees saw themselves stuck in Tampa, Florida, for the time being. Informal workouts, recovery, and very little ensued, and now with Florida set to establish a stay-at-home policy, the Bombers might have to find a different place to remain in baseball shape.
The world remains in quarantine over the coronavirus pandemic, straining the sports world in the process (of course, humanity is more important). The Yankees were set to start the regular season with an outfield built by committee — Brett Gardner in centerfield, Mike Tauchman in right field and Clint Frazier in left.
All three of the Yankees’ starting outfielders were on pace to miss Opening Day, and now two of them can easily make it back in time for the new start date, which could be many weeks away. Judge’s stress fracture (rib) has seen gradual progress in his recovery, indicating he’s in the right direction, and Stanton is still nursing a grade 1 calf strain that seems to be more like a grade 3 calf strain based on his extended absence.
What Yankees’ players will lose their opportunities?
Frazier will likely lose the most in regards to an opportunity. He has been fighting himself for a starting role in recent years, but his defense has held him back significantly. Factor in his attitude problem in 2019, and there was never a chance for him to cement himself on the active roster. However, he has seemed more mature and up for the fight this spring, batting a robust .320 with eight hits over 25 at-bats.
The reality is, the Yankees have a bevy of players who can fill spots in the outfield, and they need more depth at other positions. Miguel Andujar will undoubtedly earn a spot, given his ability to play in left field and third base. Mike Ford will likely be an option behind Luke Voit at first, and Tyler Wade is a jack of all trades.
Unfortunately, Frazier might lose his opportunity to show what he can do, but I don’t doubt he will get the chance at some point in 2020. Patience is vital with “Red Thunder.”