Thursday, September 16, 2021

Once again, Tyler Wade comes through. I wonder if management noticed?

In November, Tyler Wade turns 27. He's been a Yankee since 2017 - never known another organization - though this is the first year he's seen more than 50 games. 

He's hitting .267, his best season ever, fourth among Yanks with at least 100 at bats. He plays everywhere but catcher. He steals bases at a 79 percent success rate. 

He hit well in the minors. In 2017, before he started shuttling between Scranton and NYC, Wade batted .310 and stole nearly 30 bases at Triple A. At age 22, he was a Triple A all-star SS. That year, fans thought he'd get a shot. 

He got 58 at bats, hit .155, and was disappeared. 

The following year, Wade received 66 MLB at bats, hit .167, and again was jettisoned. That's when the brain trust decided to make him a utility lug nut. He would learn every position. That consigned him to two more years on the shuttle - and even then, few opportunities, because the Yankees would sign veteran cast-offs. (That's the Yankee way.)

For years now, Wade has been reputed to be the fastest Yankee. Last October, they carried him on their playoffs roster. He batted once, drew a walk. They didn't let him steal. Often, when he pinch runs, they hold him back. (Though he always rattles the pitcher.)

During the recent 13 game winning streak, Wade played often. He went 6 for 20, ( .300), and lifted his average to .278. He settled a ragtag infield, playing beside Andrew Velasquez (currently of Scranton.) In one game, a Fox announcer mused that Wade was the best all-around player in the Yankee lineup. Nobody scoffed. 

Last night, Wade stole third - fronting a double steal with Gleyber Torres - a move that changed the game. It was a hellova gutsy decision. You cannot get thrown out at third, not in the ninth, not in a pennant race, not down a run to Baltimore. Had Wade been out, today's tabs would put his head on a pike. But he beat both the throw and the ensuing video challenge. His move averted a soul-crushing Yankee loss. (Had Wade remained at 2b, Brett Gardner's bloop single would have been easily caught by the SS.)

When you look at Tampa, you see a team of Tyler Wades: hungry players, mid-20s, skilled in multiple positions, lightning fast, peaking in their careers, confident in their abilities, heading to the world series.

When you look at the Yankees - well - you might miss Wade entirely. He's a late-inning replacement, an occasional runner. We prefer veterans, even though their batting averages are - (for real) - .148, .205, and  .227. 

I realize that I'm approaching this from the upper deck of fandom. Game decisions are hard to critique from far away. We don't know the inner dynamics. Is a player nursing a secret injury? Is he overworked? Does his dog have ringworm? Hey, you never know...

Still, when you look long range at a player like Tyler Wade, you can see that the fix was always in. Long ago, somebody in the front office decided that Wade is not worthy of a starting role. The Yankees play the front office favorites, and if you're not on that A-list, good luck. You'll get 50 at bats, scattered over three months, and unless you hit .350, you're gone.  

Meanwhile, the Yankees will trade for another pricey veteran - who will immediately become the most important Yankee. He'll need at least 200 at bats. Guys like Wade, with no fairy godfather in management, must scrounge for chances to show their stuff.

Well, last night, Wade showed his stuff. That should mean more playing time, right! (Badabadoom. That's a joke.)


JM said...

Wade should be an everyday player. Which could happen if we trade Gleyber or Voit or Gio or all of them for pitching. Hell, I'd trade away guys just to make room for him. But I'm that way.

Of course, we could let Gallo go and put Wade in left, where he's very good (too). That would be so nice.

The front office wouldn't hear of it. They still think home runs and home runs alone put fannies in the seats. But can you imagine a lineup of contact hitters, maybe spiced with a couple of power guys, and a better, more consistent rotation?

You can, I can, Cashman can't. It's the Yankee way.

HoraceClarke67 said...

Brilliant, Duque. And good point about how Gardner's bloop doesn't fall without Wade on third. Though was the double steal ordered from the dugout? If so, good on Boone.

Velazquez, who did nothing but play a great shortstop and hit better than many of these moaxes, is apparently next up for the Wade treatment.

HoraceClarke67 said...

And hey, I noticed that Thairo Estrada homered last night. He now has 7 on the season, in just 129 PA, for the high-flying Giants. Plus he's hitting .277/.821, has played 5 different positions this year, and has yet to be caught stealing as a major leaguer (6 for 6).

But look what we got in return for him: cash!

Hey, never mind, we've got Rougned Odor on our team.

The Archangel said...

Estrada's name should be posted above every Yankee employee's desk and/or cubicle.


The Archangel

Celerino Sanchez said...

This team in 16 & 17 was on target to build something, then Cashman couldn't hold back from getting Stanton and everything went to shit. They let guys like Estrada, Whitlock, Eric Swanson, etc go for nothing. Players like Wade were not given an opportunity to show if they could be starters and now you have a one and done team. They will sign Story for some stupid number and then complain they don't have any money to add in other areas. It's like 80's all over again, except The Boss was trying to win, I can't say the same about Little Hal.

Ceeja said...

Look,the point is that Gleybar and Sanchez lack the defensive ability to be on a championship team. And they lack the offensive consistency to make up for this. They are gone next season, as is Gardner given his age.

That leaves three big spots. Hal is too cheap to spend. So that means wade and estrada and Velasquez and similar type players will move up.

I'm looking forward to this. These guys are real ball players. I look forward to rooting for them.

I'll take team full of roy whites and Horace Clarke and Joe Rudis. That's how you win championships or at least lose with dignity

Ceeja said...

Agreed that Cashman needs to go. He has done some things well but at this point we need a complete reevaluation of management and philosophy

HoraceClarke67 said...

Ceeja, I completely agree with you, but you're misreading Coops' lifetime record if you think Sanchez or Gleyber are ever going anywhere as long as he's in command.

They are his guys, his acquisitions, and thus will not be surrendered for money or love. We will keep hearing about how they just need to be "fixed."

And as Coops is HAL's guy, he won't be going anywhere for a long while, either.

Der Kaiser said...

To be fair, Cashman is perfectly willing to jettison "his" players. The problem is that he always does so two or three years after any other GM would have, and only when they have no trade value at all left.