So I sat down to write today about Tyler Wade.
As we come closer to opening day, and final roster setting decision time, there is no one on the Yankees roster among the part time infielders group that’s good enough to keep Wade off the big league team. He’s been a plus offensive player in AAA and can play 6 positions. I know that doesn’t guarantee anything – but in the absence of a proven commodity, he’s deserving of the opportunity, especially in today’s luxury tax conscious view of roster building.
The other options – Jace Peterson, Danny Espinosa and Ronald Torreyes – are proven commodities.
They’ve proven that they are not Major League players. Combined, they played in 290 games last season and combined for negative 1.8 WAR. That’s minus 1.8 That’s less production than a minor leaguer would give you in close to twice as many games.
That’s what I was going to write.
Then the Yankees signed Neil Walker. Neil Walker is not only a proven commodity, but he’s been one of the best 2nd baseman in baseball since becoming a regular player in 2010.
In an era of many great 2nd basemen, Neil Walker is 5th in OPS+ (behind only Cano, Altuve, Murphy and Pedroia) and 8th in WAR among 2nd baseman over that time. As I wrote earlier in the off season, he was going to be a steal for some team…
…I just didn’t think it would be the Yankees. Pleasant surprise.
So what does this mean? I’m not in Brian Cashman’s head (hey, I admit it, unlike the bobble heads on Simpleton Summer Camp) but it looks like Walker is the 2nd baseman and Brandon Drury is the 3rd baseman with Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres starting the season in the minors.
Bottom line is that a pretty impressive team and a pretty impressive lineup just got better, with some down the line options as well.
The question that still hasn’t been answered is who is the backup shortstop? Neither Drury nor Walker can play short, so that leaves Torreyes, Espinosa, Peterson…and (wait for it) Wade, who played shortstop predominantly in the minors.
So my originally planned blog still stands: Tyler Wade needs to be on this team.