With the regular season just days away, the Yankees Opening Day roster is nearly set. They still have a couple of cuts to make, however, and today they made a bit of a surprising cut in sending down Tyler Wade. The team sent the 24-year-old utilityman to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Wade was pretty widely presumed to have the inside track on a roster spot at this point. He played well in spring, slashing .319/.360/.532 in 50 plate appearances, lacing one home run and stealing three bases. His versatility on defense lent itself to a bench spot. And when Clint Frazier was sent down to the minors and Aaron Hicks suffered an injury, it appeared Wade would find plenty of room for himself on the depth chart to open the season.
The Yankees’ trade for outfielder Mike Tauchman threw a wrench into those plans, as the 28-year-old Rockies import likely will slide into Wade’s presumed spot on the bench. Tauchman has only 69 plate appearances to his name and a .468 OPS overall, but he does possess more impressive numbers in the minors, having played in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.
This decision might have more to do with a desire to get Wade consistent playing time. Someone like Tauchman will have no qualms with backing up in the outfield, but a talented young player like Wade might be better served recording consistent at-bats in Triple-A rather than riding the pine. Glance at his major-league game logs the past couple years and you’ll see he’s had hardly any chance to play every day since 2016.
In any event, we’ll likely see Wade up at some point this season, just not as early as was assumed. With any luck, Wade will light up the minors, and remain at the ready the moment the Yankees need his diverse skillset in the bigs.