These things always work out the same way. You do everything right, and of course it all falls apart immediately. As a result, you look bad and everyone questions whether or not you made the right decisions. In this instance, we are talking about the Yankees outfield depth and how it has been obliterated four games into the season. Before fans start declaring that the team has messed up, it’s important to take a step back and remember what the Yankees went into the season with.
After acquiring Giancarlo Stanton, the Yankees seemed to have too many outfielders at one point. Between Brett Gardner, Aaron Hicks, and Aaron Judge, the team already had a starting outfield, and Jacoby Ellsbury already had nowhere to go. Then, on top of that, Clint Frazier and Billy McKinney were available as depth in the minors. Having seven guys on the 40-man roster might seem like enough, but fate and the stupidity of this silly game would say otherwise.
Ellsbury and Frazier have been dealing with injuries since spring training, but everything seemed to be fine. Then McKinney and Hicks suffered injuries of their own just as the season was getting underway, and it looked like the team was going to be in trouble. There is no one left to call up without making a roster move, but that’s not really necessary considering the injuries these players have. The Yankees should be able to get by.
Ellsbury is playing in extended spring training games, so it’s just a matter of getting him back into in-game shape. It should be a matter of days, not weeks, before he will be ready to return. Neither Hicks nor McKinney should really be out for long, barring some setback or update regarding the nature of their injuries. In the meantime, the Yankees can get by with Gardner, Judge, and Stanton in the same outfield, all three of whom are considered to be starting outfielders in their own respect.
The Yankees also have a whole slew of backup outfielders on the roster who are capable of playing out there in case of an emergency. Guys like Tyler Wade, Ronald Torreyes, and Tyler Austin are considered to be able to play the outfield if needed. While it wouldn’t be ideal, Brandon Drury could physically stand out there as well if need be. It’s not a great situation to be in, but there’s no reason to panic and make an unnecessary roster move.
Beyond the team’s initial outfield depth to start the season, the Yankees don’t have much else to call up right now. You might say that Jake Cave would be nice to have right about now, but it’s important to remember that he was only added to the 40-man roster this offseason because he would have been a minor league free agent otherwise. The Yankees needed to make room on the roster for Neil Walker, who was a key addition to the team. It was an easy move to make at the time, and likely not one they necessarily regret.
If the Yankees messed up anywhere, it was in their decision not to have a viable replacement behind Greg Bird, but even then, where we they supposed to fit such a player on the roster? As stacked as the Yankees are with Stanton in the outfield, no team can really expect to have that kind of depth just sitting around. Even then, it doesn’t make you safe from an unfair onslaught of injuries.
The Yankees did not start the year with the best of luck, but everything is going to be fine. As long as no one else gets hurt, help should be on the way soon, so nothing needs to be done until then.