Friday, July 10, 2020

The second-base problem, if DJ is sick

Make no mistake: DJ LeMahieu was the 2019 Yankee MVP. Hands down. (Which reminds me: wash your hands.) He played - as the Beatles sang - here, there, and everywhere. Led the team in hitting. His insanely clutch HR saved us in the playoffs, until cheater Jose "Bang the Drum Slowly" Altuve came up. (Insert boos.) LeMahieu is so crucial to the 2020 Yankees that the lineup without him reduces us from favorites to contenders. 

And that's where we are: Picturing the lineup without him. 

He's been in COVID quarantine for a week. (News reports of his positive test surfaced July 5.) He'll pace his hotel room for at least seven more days, until the virus passes and he tests negative. If he's lucky - that is, no lingering complications - he would have six days to prep for the July 23 reopener. I cannot see him playing in that game. Too many uncertainties.

So, let's picture the Yankee lineup without him.

Hicks CF
Judge RF
Gleyber SS
Stanton DH

Sanchez C
Urshela 3B
Voit 1B

Gardy LF 
Your Name Here 2B

This leaves Miguel Andujar on the bench, which I find troubling. Over the season, he might platoon with Gardy, but not on opening day. (Also, he better learn to catch pop flies, which he didn't do last night.) Also, Mike Ford might replace Voit, considering that Max Scherzer, a righty, will almost surely pitch for Washington.)

The candidates for 2B? 

Tyler Wade, 25, lefty. The fave? Possible LH platoon. Should make the team anyway, as utility man and pinch runner. We've been waiting on Wade for three years. Late bloomer? He always hit at Scranton. Now or never.

Thairo Estrada, 24, righty. Played well last season when called up. A SS by trade. If Wade flops, he should get a shot. Maybe RH platoon?

Matt Duffy, 29, righty. We signed him last week, a strange pick-up at the time (did Cashman know about DJ?). He hit well in his first MLB seasons, then apparently couldn't adjust to pitchers writing a book on him. There's a Scott Brosius vibe to this guy. Sometimes, a hitter has to fall apart before he learns to adjust. I wonder...

Rosell Hererra, 27, switch. He was the talk of camp, long long ago and far far away. Plays everywhere. He seemed to have won a slot on the roster. He's big - 6'3" - with power. This year's Urshela? (As if one comes every season.) Actually, the guy he reminds me of is Hanser Alberto, a utility infielder that Baltimore signed in the winter of 2019, after the Yankees originally picked him off the scrap heap. Alberto hit .305 last year and was probably the O's best player. Somehow - and let's give him his due - Cashman has a knack for finding these guys. Hererra and Duffy might just turn out to be huge pick-ups. 

Kyle Holder, 26, righty. I may be the last fan blogger in the Yankiverse still wishing on this guy, a former high draft pick, whose been lost in the system for four years. His glove (at SS) has always drawn raves, but they say he can't hit. His minor league numbers suggest that he is smart enough to put the ball into play, rather than swing away. I just think there's something there, the kind of plug-in role player that could really help a team. Right now, the only way we'll see Holder is in a virus breakout. Which means we better hold onto Holder.

Which reminds me: All this thought, all this writing upstairs... I still think it's a waste of time. There will be no season. But damn, it just gave me 30 minutes of corona-free thought - no dying, no tests, no stupid fights. It reminds me of the need for baseball. Life is not the same without the boys of summer. Cross your fingers. (After washing them.)


Alphonso said...

I think Clint Frazier.

With plantar ( the f word ) , his speed and range will be limited. So no outfield.

Second base seems a natural for a hobbled red thundercloud.

It won't matter....if Andujar and DJ don't play, we wont win. Simple.

Publius said...

Clint Frazier at second base...imagine the carnage. Covid hysteria has the unlikely effects.

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