Yankees could demote struggling utility man

oswaldo cabrera, yankees
Apr 22, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees left fielder Oswaldo Cabrera (95) hits a double in the fourth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees‘ outfield performance has been dismal at the start of the 2023 season, with injuries plaguing key players such as Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Harrison Bader. Although Bader has recently been on a hot streak against the Tampa Bay Rays, Judge is recovering from a right hip injury and expects to return on Tuesday against the Oakland Athletics. Unfortunately, Stanton is still about a month away from a possible return after sustaining a hamstring injury while rounding the bases.

In the interim, the Yankees must determine the optimal players for daily starting positions. Regrettably, versatile utility player Oswaldo Cabrera has experienced a lackluster offensive beginning to the season, suggesting that a temporary reassignment to Triple-A could be beneficial for rebuilding his confidence.

“I am aware that I am trying to do too much,” the 24-year-old admitted. “When I attempt to do too much, I end up grounding the ball.”

The Yankees need more offense from Oswaldo Cabrera:

Cabrera’s current season statistics include a .202 batting average, a .236 OBP, one home run, eight RBIs, and a 38 wRC+. He has an 18.7% strikeout rate and a meager 4.7% walk rate, both significant declines from his 2022 performance. Although Cabrera was never expected to excel at getting on base, the hope was that he would contribute double-digit home runs, demonstrate impressive athleticism, and maintain a respectable batting average.

“I don’t believe he is far off,” Boone commented last week. “I think, as with many hitters, but especially with Oswaldo, it’s about capitalizing on the pitches you receive. He has likely fouled off more than he should have.”

In Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays, Cabrera did manage to contribute two hits and an RBI, slightly improving his statistics. More consistent performances would help justify his place on the 26-man roster, but he must overcome the early-season slumps he has experienced. In fact, Cabrera has recorded only three hits in his last seven games, and before Sunday’s devastating loss, he had achieved just one hit in his previous six games.

Given the numerous injuries affecting the team, the Yankees have relied on Cabrera to cover multiple infield and outfield positions. His defensive skills are undoubtedly a strong point. However, once the team recovers, spending some time with their Triple-A affiliate may benefit him, allowing him to regain confidence and return with a few successful hits.

At his current performance level, Oswaldo is more of a hindrance than a help in the batter’s box, which is something the Yankees cannot afford any longer. With Judge’s return on Tuesday and Bader shouldering the offensive load, the left-field position is essentially up for grabs. In truth, the Yankees have several players vying for starting spots in the outfield, but none of them are performing well offensively.