FanPost

Open Writing Position - Weakest Link

Hi everyone. My name is Nick. I've been following the blog for a while, but only just officially joined, so that I could give this writing gig a shot.

Hope you enjoy my (less mainstream) take on what the Yankees' greatest weakness might be.

I consider it a great thing for the state of our Yankees that this is a difficult question to answer.

Although many might point to the lack of quality starting pitching depth, the weakest link on the Yankees roster might actually be the lack of center field depth.

I say this because I believe the Yankees' starting rotation is good enough to get them into the playoffs, at which point they will likely go with a 3-4 man rotation anyway. Assuming health, the first 4 games of a 7 game series would probably bear witness to a rotation of Severino, Tanaka, Sabathia, and Gray/Montgomery. At this point, the rotation would most likely reset, meaning Severino would take game 5, Tanaka would take game 6, and Sabathia would take game 7.

Based on Severino's status as the ace of this staff, Tanaka's successful playoff history (1.44 ERA in 4 career postseason starts), and Sabathia's clutch performances in recent memory, there's no reason to believe the Yankees shouldn't feel comfortable relying on them for two games a piece in a 7 game series. Of course, injuries, particularly at the top of the rotation, could change this.

As of right now, though, I remain confident that a healthy Montgomery, a seasoned Sonny Gray, or maybe even a surging Domingo German could fill that fourth spot in the playoff rotation more than admirably. Plus, it might not be worth the prospects that would have to be sacrificed to acquire a top arm that could push Sabathia, let's say, to the fourth spot in the playoff rotation if it severely damages the depth of the club moving forward.

This leads me to my main point - the Yankees center field depth is their weakest link. As it stands, Aaron Hicks sits atop the depth chart in center, with Brett Garner and Aaron Judge serving as the second and third back-up options, respectively. Gardner, at this stage of his career, should not be playing center field. Judge is not a natural center fielder. Jacoby Ellsbury can't seem to get healthy (which may not necessarily be a bad thing for the club). Billy McKinney is injured, and unproven. Clint Frazier is injured, unproven, and not a natural center fielder.

If Hicks were to go down, which is not out of the realm of possibility given his extensive injury history, that would force Gardner and Judge, both of whom would be significant downgrades in center field defensively, into a platoon at the position. This would force Stanton (an average right-fielder, and below-average left fielder) to assume left and right field duties more frequently, transforming the DH spot from the strength that it currently is into a question mark.

In sum, an injury to Hicks would result in a significantly worse outfield from a defensive perspective. It would force players out of their natural positions, and potentially necessitate the need to rely on unproven players such as Billy McKinney, or the recently promoted Clint Frazier.

While I'm not suggesting that Aaron Hicks is the most important player on the Yankees roster, I am suggesting that it may become problematic that this team does not have as much outfield depth (particularly center field depth) as we thought it would have going into the season. The Yankees, therefore, may want to consider acquiring veteran center field depth at the deadline in preparation for a potential injury to their everyday starter.

Thanks for reading!

Let me know what you think in the comments section down below.

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