Yankees could leave Mike Tauchman behind with surprise player surging

Mike Tauchman, New York Yankees

The New York Yankees have a lively position battle unfolding in the outfield, with a surprise player climbing the depth chart as spring training continues. Heading into the 2021 season, the expectation was that Mike Tauchman would be a lock to make the roster, but he has struggled this spring, just as he did in 2020 when he finished with a .242 average and 23.4% strikeout rate.

Ultimately, Tauchman is a solid defensive player that is extremely inconsistent on offense, and the Yankees might be looking to add a slugger in case Aaron Judge or Giancarlo Stanton are forced to miss any time.

Mike spoke to reporters after Sunday’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays. He finished with one hit over three at-bats and was thrown out attempting to steal a base. His demise this spring opens up the door for Jay Bruce, a slugger who has exceeded expectations this spring.

“A really good way to make myself crazy is worry about that,” Tauchman said after a tough outing on Sunday. “There’s certain things that I’m trying to get done in spring training. It didn’t go well today, I got thrown out, but going first to third, going gap to gap for balls, being aggressive with leadoffs, trying to see a lot of pitches, stuff like that. That’s infinitely more important to me than worrying about some competition or whatever.”

What does Jay Bruce offer the Yankees?

Bruce offers the Yankees an entirely different makeup compared to Tauchman. Last season, he hit just .198 but is historically a double-digit home run hitter every year. In 2019, he slammed 26 homers and collected 59 RBIs. He strikes out a very similar amount to Tauchman, but that extra slugging ability gives him a push, especially since the Yankees view the long ball as a run producer.

There is a possibility that the Yankees roll into the season with Tauchman and Bruce on the roster, but with the retention of Brett Gardner, that reality seems a bit more unlikely. Bruce is currently hitting .333 this spring with two homers and three RBIs. Luckily for Tauchman, Bruce struck out twice over three at-bats against Toronto, giving him a bit more time to make up lost ground.

New York Yankees: Lucas Luetge’s big chance, Tauchman out of options, and more

Mike Tauchman, New York Yankees

New York Yankees assistant GM Mike Fishman pursued Lucas Luetge each of the past two years and signed him to a minor league deal this offseason, he said, “A lot of people are talking about him [in camp]. He is opening eyes with how he is performing — and the quality of the stuff, too. He has swing-and-miss pitches.” Luetge has been trying to get from the minors to the majors for the last six years. He did it for just one game back in 2015. He pitched 2 1/2 innings of shutout ball. But his return to the majors has been elusive.

For the Yankees, Luetge has faced 11 hitters in three spring games and struck out eight. On Sunday against Philadelphia, he wiped out the 1-2-3 of the order — Andrew McCutchen, Didi Gregorius, and Bryce Harper. The Yankees are impressed, but will he make the 26 man roster? After June 1st, he can get out of the Yankee deal.

He started his pitching career with the Seattle Mariners and was with them for four years, but he was given assignment after his major league start. Since then, he has been in the minors for the Brewers, Angels, Reds, Orioles, Diamondbacks, Athletics, and now at age 34, later this month, he may have his best chance of a Major League spot. However, he will have to fight for that chance with other lefties.

What lies ahead for Mike Tauchman?

This spring is either do or die for Mike Tauchman; if he doesn’t make the 26 man roster out of spring camp, he is a goner; no options remain. Or he could be traded before the deadline. The 30 year-old outfielder, who broke out in the second half of 2019 but struggled in 2020, is on the 26-man roster bubble and has no minor league options remaining. The problem for the New York Yankees is that Jay Bruce, Derek Dierich and Tauchman are all competing for the same last bench spot.

Right now Jay Bruce seems to have the edge in making the 26 man roster. He has two home runs and is batting .455. Tauchman is doing himself no favors, he is batting just .167 after a poor season last year. The present bench in the 26 man roster includes a guaranteed set for Kyle HIgashioka, Brett Gardner, Miguel Andujar, and that one vacant seat. It is assumed that Mike Ford and Tyler Wade will start in the minors. Bruce could drop out of the equation if he opts out of his contract on March 25th. If the Yankees are not going to keep T-Man in the majors they will have to trade him before the season starts or the will get nothing for him and he will be gone forever.

Domingo German pitches tonight

The New York Yankees will face the Pittsburgh Pirates tonight at the Yankee home. The Yankees have announced that Domingo German will be starting the game, with a lineup headed by DJ LeMahieu, Aaron Judge, and Brett Gardner leading off in the first inning. German will be facing the Pirates pitcher Tyler Anderson.

In his outing last week, German was near perfect, pitching two innings while allowing only 1 single and no walks. He struck out 4 hitters; that’s 18 per nine innings.Tonight he will likely be extended to three innings of work. The game tonight is at 6:35 pm and will be televised on the YES Network.

 

 

New York Yankees: Three power-hitters in contention for roster spots after week one of Spring Training

New York Yankees, Derek Dietrich

A week of Spring Training games is already in the books, and we’ve seen lots of positives so far for the New York Yankees. Gary Sanchez has gotten off to a strong start, Aaron Judge is hitting the ball well, and DJ LeMahieu can’t get out. Another positive we’ve seen is some depth guys performing well to start Spring Training. Here are three power hitters who are in contention for roster spots after week one.

Jay Bruce

Jay Bruce has made a big splash so far in Spring Training. He’s gotten hits in four of his six at-bats and he slugged a home run in yesterday’s contest against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Bruce is a lefty, something the Yankees don’t have many of, so he could be in contention for a bench spot on the Yankees’ roster. His defense is subpar, but his offensive potential makes up for it.

Derek Dietrich

Derek Dietrich has made seven plate appearance this spring and has taken advantage of it. He’s 1-of-5 with a two-run home run, a walk, and an HBP. Similar to Bruce, Dietrich lacks a solid defensive game and isn’t the fastest, but his lefty power could make a serious impact off the bench. To make the roster, Dietrich will have to beat out the defensively orientated Tyler Wade.

Mike Tauchman

Mike Tauchman has gotten off to a decent start this spring. He’s 2-for-10 so far with a home run and a stolen base. Tauchman is a lot more well-rounded than Bruce and Dietrich, but his offense is probably the worse of the three. Being that Tauchman is also a lefty, it could be him against Bruce for the final outfield spot. Regardless, Tauchman’s name is for sure in the mix this season.

Yankees News: Mike Tauchman a trade candidate, but should they pull the trigger?

Mike Tauchman, New York Yankees

The New York Yankees brought on several outfielders to compete during spring training this year, and it could create a more difficult situation for Mike Tauchman to make the active roster. From signing Jay Bruce to Derek Dietrich, the position bottle for a depth spot in the OF will be ongoing during spring training.

Currently, the Yankees have Aaron Judge, Clint Frazier, and Aaron Hicks as their expected starters for the 2021 season. The depth pieces include Giancarlo Stanton, Brett Gardner, and a bevy of alternatives. Tauchman could be considered a trade piece given his value over the last two seasons, as he hit .277 in 2019 with 13 homers and 47 RBIs. An outrageous boost in slugging, Mike had never hit a major league homer until 2019, which could be coughed up to juiced baseballs.

The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal believes that Mike Tauchman could be cut due to depth in the outfield:

Brett Gardner, 37, would appear a lock to make the club after agreeing to a one-year, $4 million free-agent contract. Jay Bruce, who turns 34 on April 3, is in camp on a non-roster deal, but he offers one thing Gardner and Tauchman do not: the ability to play first base … Tauchman is out of options, so the Yankees cannot send him to the minor leagues without first passing him through waivers. A trade might be possible, particularly to a lesser team that could give him regular playing time. But the Yankees would need to be sure about Gardner and Bruce, both of whom are signed for only one year, to give up Tauchman’s four remaining years of control, including a salary in the range of the $570,500 minimum this season.

With the Yankees’ style of play, Jay Bruce may offer them a more productive alternative. He has hit double-digit home runs for the majority of his career, landing 26 two years ago. While he only played about half of the 2020 season, he recorded six homers.
Defense isn’t the hallmark of his game — he can contribute offensively and offer a lefty bat in the lineup. At 33 years old, Bruce is no spring chicken, but he might be a more beneficial add than Tauchman based on scheme fit.

New York Yankees: Major takeaways from the Yankees loss to the Jays

New York Yankees, Michael King

The New York Yankees came away from Sunday’s game with the Toronto Blue Jays with mixed results. Although they lost the game, there were some bright spots for the Yankees. The major plus was that Mike Tauchman, who didn’t have a home run all of last season, hit a monster blast that ended up on the pavilion roof far out in centerfield; it nearly carried out of the park. Tauchman, trying to find a place in the Yankees lineup, took his first step to that goal with that long ball.

Other pluses for the Yankees were that Clint Frazier handled left field pretty well, catching all the balls that came his way. DJ LeMahieu had a hit in a game that saw few for the New York Yankees. LeMahieu was the MLB batting champ last season when he hit .364 on the season. The Yankees went the first three innings without getting on base until LeMahieu had his single that eventually ended up allowing the Yankees to get on the scoreboard when pitch runner Andrew Velazquez crossed the plate on a Luke Voit single. Velazquez replaced Gleyber Torres in the game.

Robinson Chirinos made his debut in pinstripes in the game as he was the starting catcher Sunday. He handled the game well. While Chirinos was the catcher, Gary Sanchez was the DH and continued his play from 2020, striking out in his first appearance in spring training. Of course, that is a small sample size as he tries to right what went wrong last season.

Apparently, the so-called newly redesigned baseball was used yesterday with mixed reviews. Aaron Judge in batting practice thought the ball didn’t go as far as the similar ball last season. But still, he was surprised when a ball he hit during the game went further than he tought it would go. In tomorrow’s game against the Detroit Tigers at 1:05 pm at Steinbrenner Field, Yankee ace Gerrit Cole will get his hands on the new ball, something that he has wanted since the beginning of spring training. Cole will start the game for the Yankees tomorrow in a televised game.

Of course, with Sunday’s loss, all was not good for the Yankees. Starter Micheal King in two innings of work, gave up three runs to the Toronto Blue Jays while hitting two Jay’s hitters. King last year pitched 26.2 innings, earning a 7.76 ERA. More was expected of King after an offseason of work. He will undoubtedly will get more chances in spring training, but yesterday he did not look good. Asher Wojciechowski replaced King in the third inning, giving up three hits and one run, but struck out two batters in the process. He was followed by Kyle Barraclough, who allowed a run in his inning of work.

All in all, the Yankee’s pitching did not look good as they used a new pitcher in all the innings after the third. The Yankee’s offense didn’t particularly shine either. Michael Brantley hit a two-RBI shot, Tauchman homered back to back, and DJ and Luke Voit got singles, but the Yankees did not hit well off the Toronto Blue Jay pitchers. With a somewhat reduced AL East this year, the Blue Jays are expected by many baseball insiders to be the main competition for the Yankees this season.

But like they say in baseball, tomorrow is another day. The Yankees will face the Detroit Tigers tomorrow at home, and then on Tuesday will be away at the Baltimore Orioles. Because of coronavirus concerns, the New York Yankees will only face Florida west coast teams in this spring training; those teams include the Jays, Orioles, Phillies, Pirates, and Tigers. East coast teams like the Boston Red Sox will play only east coast teams. Just over 2,800 lucky fans got to sit in the stands socially distanced and watch yesterday’s game.

At the moment, at the start of the regular season, the Yankees will be allowed to have fans at Yankee Stadium, but only to 10% capacity. The Yankees will work seamlessly with New York Governor Cuomo, hoping to increase that by the Yankees’ opening day game at the Stadium on April 1.

 

New York Yankees Recap: Yankees lose to the Jays 6-4 in the first game

Mike Tauchman, New York Yankees

The New York Yankees had their first game of spring training today at George M. Steinbrenner Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Yankees faced the Toronto Blue Jays and lost the game 6-4. It was a landmark game in that it was the first day since March 12 that fans were allowed in the stands. Steinbrenner field holds 10,000 fans but was limited to just over 2,800 fans socially distanced in pods of two, three, and four sets separated by well over six feet. All fans wore masks, although many took them off as the game progressed.

It was as perfect a day for baseball that you could imagine. It remained about 80 degrees throughout the game under bright sunny skies and a light southerly breeze. You couldn’t ask for a better day for the first game of spring training. The only downer was that the Yankees did not win the game.

Michael King was the starting pitcher for the Yankees, and he pitched the first two innings giving up two runs. In each following inning, the New York Yankees sent a different pitcher to the mound. When the Yankees took to the field, they had the #16 on their sleeve, honoring Yankee great Whitey Ford, who passed away last season. Ford was one of the most famous of Yankee pitchers. Right up until the last Old Timer’s game, he was always there. The Yankees feel the loss of one of their Hall of Famers.

In the first inning with a Jay on base, Rowdy Tellez hit a ground-rule double that got past Aaron Judge and bounced into the right-field stands, and just like that, it was 2-0 Jays. Michael King hit two Jays players in as many innings. Cavan Baggio hit an RBI double for a 3-0 Toronto Blue Jays score, in the second inning. By the fourth inning, Blue Jay’s pitching kept the Yankees off the bases. In the third, Jonathan Davis had an RBI single making it 4-0 Jays.

Lopez scored in the fourth on a fly ball that fell short of Clint Frazier, increasing the Blue Jay lead to 5-0. In the bottom of the frame, DJ LeMahieu hit a single, Gleyber Torres doubled, and Luke Voit singled, which produced a run for the Yankees and putting them on the Board. Jays 5 Yankees 1. In the bottom of the fifth, Michael Brantley, with one-on, hit a 2 RBI homer making it 5-3 Jays.

Following Brantley, Mike Tauchman hit a towering home run onto the pavilion roof, adding another run for the Yankees, making it close at 5-4. But the Yankees failed to score for the rest of the game. In the top of the seventh, the Blue Jays tacked on another run when Logan Warmouth homered for the final score of 6-4.

During the game, New York Yankee manager Aaron Boone was interviewed by Michael Kay. Boone said he likes where his players were coming into spring training and their frame of mind. He stated that he was happy to see fans back in the stands. When asked what his major concerns were, what keeps him up at night? Boone responded the pitching, making sure he builds up the pitchers properly and being mindful of limiting innings to keep them fresh. He also talked about how this year, the team should realize the efforts of health and conditioning director Eric Cressey to keep both Judge and Stanton on the field.  He left open the question if the Yankees would employ a six-man rotation. Boone said he would do what was necessary to protect the staring lineup.

Report: Mike Tauchman’s roster spot with the Yankees in jeopardy

Mike Tauchman, New York Yankees

With the signing of Brett Gardner, the New York Yankees have very good outfield depth going into the season. Clint Frazier and Gardy can play left field, Aaron Hicks is the starting center fielder, and Aaron Judge is one of the game’s premier right fielders.

In addition, designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton is more than capable of playing the field every once in a while, and Yankees’ skipper Aaron Boone recently indicated that he wants to give the slugger some time out there to keep his legs fresh and prepared.

However, if you hadn’t noticed, there is a noteworthy name missing in that outfield depth chart: Mike Tauchman. The lefty-hitting Yankees’ player is a very good fielder, but his bat just wasn’t there in 2020, and now, it appears he is in danger of not making the team.

Per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, Tauchman’s spot on the Yankees Opening Day roster could be in jeopardy.

What will the Yankees do with Tauchman?

With a triple slash of .242/.342/.305 with no homers, 14 RBI and six steals in 111 plate appearances, Tauchman has a lot to prove in spring training, especially on offense.

It was a steep downgrade from 2019, when he batted .277/.361/.504 with a 128 wRC+.

The fact that Gardner returned, plus fellow lefty Jay Bruce showcasing a power element that Tauchman simply lacks means that the latter could have a hard time proving to the Yankees that he can be included on the opening day roster.

Bruce can also provide a backup option at first base. Tauchman does have versatility, as he can cover all outfield spots well. But the offensive questions are enough to put his spot in jeopardy.

Tauchman could be traded, as he is out of minor league options. It’s unlikely that the Yankees release him, so they would probably want to test the market to see if he can fetch something.

New York Yankees: An interesting position battle is shaping up in the outfield

Mike Tauchman, New York Yankees

On Friday, the New York Yankees reportedly re-signed Brett Gardner to a one-year deal worth $4 million with a team and a player option for 2022. The signing wasn’t a huge surprise, but long-anticipated after waiting until mid-February to ink a deal.

With the Gardner signing, it jumbles up the outfield picture for 2021. Gardner will be the fourth outfielder this season, with Clint Frazier, Aaron Hicks, and Aaron Judge as the starters. Giancarlo Stanton will DH this season but can play outfield if absolutely neccessary.

This puts both Mike Tauchman and Greg Allen in a position battle for the “fifth outfielder” role. The Yankees will carry a three or four-man bench for most of the season with a back-up catcher, an infielder, and possibly two outfielders. Between Tauchman and Allen, whoever wins the position battle will likely be the second outfielder behind Gardner.

Mike Tauchman

Tauchman has been solid for the Yankees in his short tenure, playing in 130 games since the beginning of the 2019 season. He’s hit .268 with a .807 OPS and a 116 OPS+ in pinstripes. He provides lefty power, knocking 13 home runs as a Yankee. Additionally, Tauchman brings speed and a good glove to the table.

Greg Allen

The Yankees acquired Greg Allen in a trade from the San Diego Padres this off-season, and he has the potential to make an impact. Allen’s one of the quickest players in the league and a decent defender with a 0.4 dWAR. Offensively, he has just a .641 career OPS but is more of a contact hitter with a .251 career average.

Tauchman is overall the better player, but what could help Allen is that he’s a switch hitter. The Yankees need lefties, and even though Tauchman is a lefty, having switch hitters on the roster can go a long way for match-ups.

With position players reporting to Spring Training this week, it’ll be interesting to see how this outfield position battle plays out.

New York Yankees: The Yankee bench will take on a more import role: Part 2

New York Yankees, Mike Ford

We all know that the New York Yankees have gone through a couple of years of far too many injuries affecting regular players playing time. Although the health situation going into spring training, which starts in just a few days if much rosier than last year, it is not reasonable to assume it will remain that way. The simple fact is that injuries are a permanent part of the game that can’t be avoided team-wide. These injuries lead to the use of backup pitchers and backup players that sit on the bench or have to be called up from the minor league to be used short term or even long term.

The backup players will take on an even more important role that could be the difference in success or the season’s failure. The big problem for manager Aaron Boone this season will be dealing with using players efficiently but at the same time saving them for a postseason run. That is something that is always dealt with, but this season is unique. Pitchers and the lineup will play 162 games after only playing 60 games last season. No matter how much a player works out in the offseason or pushes himself in spring training, moving to play nearly three times as many games this season will be a strain on all involved.

In part one of this article, we dealt with the pitching and the depth of both starters and the bullpen.  Now we look at the Yankee depth on the bench and how they can be used.

Mike Ford:

There are several pluses when it comes to Mike Ford. Ford is an adequate fill-in for Luke Voit at first base. He is a lefty bat when they need it and frequently hits for power. Ford, like many players, had a sub-par season last year. He hit just .135 with two homers over 74 plate appearances. But in 2019, he was an important part of the bench hitting .259 with twelve home runs. The New York Yankees need him to return to form as he will be needed off the bench.

Mike Tauchman:

Mike Tauchman is another important piece off the bench. Tauchman can replace any of the oft-injured outfielders at any position. Clint Frazier has earned the permanent place in left field and is seldom injured, so Tauchman would likely only be used to replace Hicks or Judge. Coming off the bench, he could be used as a lefty bat when needed. Tauchman, like Ford, had a poor 2020 season. But he, when on, can hit for power too.

Miguel Andujar:

Andujar spent most of his time last season on the Scranton shuttle. The New York Yankees tried to adapt him to first base and the outfield, neither turned out all that well, and he got little playing time. But Andujar could still be an important factor for the Yankees. There is no question that he can hit home runs as well as hit for contact. During 2018 before his shoulder injury, he hit .297 with 27 home runs. In the Dominican Republic, he adjusted his swing a bit over the offseason, and scouts say he looks great. The only problem for the Yankees is where he will play to get in some playing time.

Jay Bruce:

Bruce is an unknown quantity to Yankee fans. Bruce, by trade, is a right fielder. He, like many players, had a down season in 2020 with the Phillies. But he could be a help to the Yankees should Aaron Judge be injured. Bruce, although not a great hitter, he does hit for power. He has hit 30 or more home runs in four seasons. However, if Judge stays healthy, he won’t see much playing time.

Greg Allen:

Greg Allen is another option for the Yankees in the outfield. His big plus is that he can be used as a pinch hitter as he hits from both sides of the plate. However, don’t expect him to be hitting any home runs. He has only had 8 long balls in his four-year career.

Kyle Higashioka:

Kyle, will of course, be on the bench, although he will seldom be used for pinch-hitting except in the late innings. He will likely be ace Gerrit Cole’s private pitcher most of the time and fill in for Gary Sanchez should he become injured. The Yankees have still not addressed a back up for Higashioka. As it stands now, they will have to bring someone up from the minors since Erik Kratz has retired.  If Gary Sanchez does not improve from last season, look for Kyle to get more playing time again.

Tyler Wade and Thairo Estrada:

The New York Yankees have plenty of back up in the outfield to handle almost any situation; the infield is an entirely different story. Should any one of the infield regular players become injured, the picture gets pretty shaky. Last season neither Tyler Wade nor Thairo Estrada was particularly effective. There is also Estevan Florial, but he is not much of an upgrade and normally plays in centerfield. All three of these players need to prove their worth this season, or it might be bye-bye.

Brett Gardner:

Right now, the big question is will the Yankees work out a deal with Brett Gardner to keep him in pinstripes. Gardner is also a lefty and the best consistent hitter of the bunch off the bench. He can fill in more than adequately in the left or center field. Even if the Yankees take him back, he will not see as much playing time as he has in the past, with Clint Frazier basically taking his place in the lineup.

The Yankees made one big mistake when they didn’t tender Rosell Hererra during the offseason. Hererra was an amazing standout in the 2020 spring training. They didn’t use him last season and he became a free agent and is now playing in China for the Wei Chuan Dragons. Hererra could have been a big star with the Yankees.

The Yankees are in pretty good shape. According to reports, they have about $10 million left in the bank without going over the luxury tax threshold. How they will spend that, if they spend that, is anyone’s guess, but to round things out, they could bring Gardner back, pick up another arm in the bullpen and strengthen the infield with another backup player.

 

The New York Yankees likely won’t have a true starting left fielder in 2021

New York Yankees, Clint Frazier

With Spring Training inching closer, the New York Yankees have just one question mark remaining. Despite having one of the most productive off-seasons across the league, the team still doesn’t know who’ll play left field in 2021. The Yankees reportedly tried to snag Michael Brantley in free-agency to fill the position, but he returned to the Houston Astros on a two-year deal. Marcell Ozuna remains on the market, but it’s unlikely the Yankees have space to sign him.

That being said, the Yankees may not have a true starting left fielder in 2021. The team has Clint Frazier and Mike Tauchman on the roster in 2021 and will likely re-sign Brett Gardner to a short-term deal. New York has three options for left field, but neither of the three may play every day.

Frazier finally began to piece things together last season, batting .267 with a .905 OPS and a 149 OPS+. His defense made massive strides, even becoming a Gold Glove Award finalist.

Tauchman wasn’t bad in 2020 either, except that his power really lacked. His OBP was just shy of .350, but his slugging was just .305. He had six extra-base hits in 95 at-bats.

Gardner is the veteran player the Yankees need in the clubhouse, but his play has fallen-off significantly over the past couple of seasons. His defense remains reliable, but he bat just .223 with a .747 OPS in 2020.

It could come down to the handedness of the pitcher the Yankees are facing each night. Frazier and Tauchman are both solid against lefties, while Gardner struggles. Frazier’s OPS against lefties is .818, while Tauchman’s is .763 with a .371 OBP.

However, against righties, Frazier’s splits are the best of the three. With a .260 average and a .802 OPS, he bests both Gardner and Tauchman, who both have an OPS below .770.

Each of the three left fielders have their strengths and weaknesses, so it’ll be interesting to see who gets the most playing time. A lot of nights, it may be whoever is the hottest or whoever has the best stats against a given pitcher.

This is all assuming that the Yankees re-sign Brett Gardner, which seems inevitable at this point. However, if the team changes course and decides to let the 13-year veteran walk, the left field situation will be a completely different story.