Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Tyler Wade And The Opening Day Shortstop

The final two spots in the starting rotation and shortstop. Those are really the only two questions that remain for the Yankees when it comes to the active roster for Opening Day. And although I'd say the question about the bottom of the rotation is far more important than shortstop, seeing as how Didi may only miss a few weeks of the regular season, I'm going to give a few thoughts on what the team should do at that position.

"I have an idea."

There have been a number of people that want to see Tyler Wade given an opportunity to see what he could do. And I totally understand that. The team is in a position where they should see what they have, not necessarily for this season but more-so for the future. And even though the team has other options at short, you can simply never have too much talent.

I mentioned on Twitter not long ago that Wade should stay in the minors to continue his development. I may be guilty of holding him back, though, as he did play all of the 2016 season in AA, and was also in Trenton for 29 games at the end of 2015. And it's not like he'd be the first player to skip
AAA on his way to becoming a good player in the show.

But while experience at higher levels in the minors is a good thing, that doesn't make up for a batting line of .249/.331/.333 at AA. It certainly doesn't instill a ton of confidence that he can keep hitting at the MLB level like he has in Spring Training.

Now it's true that Tyler has the potential to steal plenty of bases, as evidenced by the 27 he stole for Trenton last year, and the 33 he had between Trenton and Tampa in 2015. But if he's only getting on base 30% of the time, to go along with better catchers in MLB than in minor league baseball, then that potential is quite limited.

It's also true that Wade's defense is top notch. However, it's not like Ronald Torreyes is a bad defender.

And as for Torreyes, he did hit .258/.305/.374 for the Yankees last season, and looking back at Tyler's AA stats there's a decent chance their overall production both on offense and defense would be fairly even.

The final nail in the coffin for me is the 40-man roster, which doesn't have the name "Tyler Wade" on it. Sure, there are ways to clear a spot without losing much or anything at all (for example, Tyler Austin could be moved to the 60-Day DL), but it doesn't make sense to me to drop anybody to take a chance on getting a little more production out of one player for one month.

That final nail is a killer, too.

If Wade could be the team's super utility player, taking Torreyes' spot, then I'd be more inclined to agree with giving him the SS gig while Didi is out. Actually, I'd be screaming for just that in this very article. Unfortunately Tyler has very limited experience at 3B (7.2 innings), while Torreyes played there for 245 innings just last year, making Wade less than idea for that role.

The fact of the matter is Tyler Wade's stock has never been higher.

If you take into account that Wade's future as a Yankee is far from open thanks to Didi Gregorius looking like the team's shortstop for years to come (he's not eligible for free agency until 2020), having one of the best prospects in baseball in Gleyber Torres also at shortstop, and Starlin Castro's ability to slide back into his natural position of SS, it's safe to say that Tyler Wade's future in MLB is not with the Yankees.

Therefore, it makes sense to look at Tyler Wade as trade bait. So the question becomes "how do we make sure he has the most trade value?" Well, there's a better chance that he continues to hit well in AAA, making him more intriguing to other teams than if he played in MLB for a month and hit worse than he did in AA last season... which is a safe bet.

So there it is... let Ronald Torreyes take care of short for a month, or maybe even move Castro over there so that Refsnyder can play 2B for a month (remember that Girardi is likely to only need 4 starters for a while, giving the team the ability to carry an extra hitter on the bench). I'd like to see what Tyler Wade can do, but from a team standpoint it just doesn't make enough sense.

"My choice in fashion doesn't make much sense, either. But trust me on this."

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