The Yankees have figured something out because now the team’s offense seems to be unstoppable. After two dramatic come-from-behind wins and several recent blowouts, the lineup is getting the job done. The only thing is that they don’t have much of a bench at the moment. Everything might be fine now, but when the offense slows down again, they are going to need a bench that can come into certain situations and hit.
By the way this team is currently configured, it’s kind of impossible to figure out who is actually supposed to be part of the bench anymore. Thanks to a combination of injuries and poor performances, the Yankees are going with a six-man infield rotation between Didi Gregorius, Neil Walker, Tyler Austin, Gleyber Torres, Ronald Torreyes, and Miguel Andujar. The Yankees also have four starting outfielders with no true designated hitter. This means there’s hardly anyone ever available to come off the bench late in the game.
When someone like Walker isn’t in the starting lineup, there’s essentially no incentive to put him in over anyone else. He’s currently platooning with Austin at first base, but are the Yankees really going to yank the guy who is hitting for the one who is not, all because of a matchup? Tyler Wade was supposed to offer some speed off the bench, but he had a hard time getting the bat on the bat. The only other players that regularly seem to be available are Torreyes, who is hitting well right now but has proven to falter in larger stretches, and Austin Romine. Unfortunately, this roster doesn’t have some of the big boppers they have had in the past.
On top of all this, the Yankees are due to receive another player who isn’t hitting much at all in Brandon Drury. With Drury coming off the disabled list in a few days, everyone seems to be getting bent out of shape over the coming roster crunch. It’s important to remember that this team is still carrying eight pitchers in the bullpen. They can certainly afford to cram Drury back on the roster if it means getting to keep everyone involved. However, that means adding one more person into an equation that doesn’t give the Yankees much in the way of power. Between Drury, Torreyes, Romine, and Walker, that’s a pretty ugly bench, but what can the team do about it?
Thankfully there is help on the way. Greg Bird is still due back sometime in May or June, which should automatically improve the situation at first base. If everything holds until then, the Yankees would have to make a decision about who to cut. Tyler Austin has been doing well so far, and having him available to come off the bench against lefties would be great. It’s here that the team will finally have to decide what to do with the likes of Drury and Walker. Who will be doing better by then and who is more worthy to stick around? We will have to see.
There’s also a reason the Yankees brought back Adam Lind. He likely has some kind of opt out date in his minor league deal, so at some point they will need to make a decision on him. If all goes according to plan, he won’t be the team’s starting first baseman, but he’s coming off a very good season and could still provide some power off the bench. It’s hilarious to even suggest this, but Jacoby Ellsbury could also be a valuable piece coming off the bench. It’s hard to see how this team could need five outfielders, but he does have his uses, as long as he can hit better than Walker has.
The problem is that the Yankees went into the season with second and third base practically undecided, and as a result there has been a rotating group of players filling in everywhere. Hopefully things can eventually settle down. If Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres cement themselves in the starting lineup, it means the Yankees will need better from Walker and Drury. They really just all need to hang in there until Bird is back, then the chips can fall where they may.