Depth starting to hurt New York Yankees
Spencer Hazen, ESNY Graphic, Getty Images

Injuries can change the course of any team’s season, but for the New York Yankees, it’s starting to take its toll on their depth.

Entering the 2018 season, the New York Yankees depth was considered one of their strengths, that has quickly changed as their depth is being put to the test.

The thought was that there would six outfielders fighting for three spots. Four infielders fighting for two spots, and a rotation that looked to be completely full. But right now, each and every one of those players competing for a spot in Spring Training has had to have an impact on the roster one point in time due to injury.

Right away the club’s depth was put to the test when Brandon Drury went on the disabled list early on. That is how rookie phenom Miguel Andujar got his chance at the major league level, and he would never look back. Andujar’s impact was so major that he stole the everyday job from Drury, who is now with the Blue Jays.

Jacoby Ellsbury and his lucrative contract was expected to be on the Yankees 25-man roster at some point in time. That, however, has not been the case, as he has been ruled out for the rest of the season. That gave Clint Frazier, the fifth outfielder on the depth chart, a chance but he to has been injured all season. The result of this is Aaron Hicks securing his role as the everyday center fielder.

With Jordan Montgomery going down to Tommy John surgery, the club had to turn to Domingo German. 19 games and a 5.65 ERA later, the club realized that German could not be the fill-in they needed. Jonathan Loasiga never even reached Triple-A and was called upon to replace the injured Masahiro Tanaka. All of this while it took the Yankees getting Lance Lynn to finally put the struggling Sonny Gray in the bullpen.

The club was able to survive the injuries because the depth was good, that’s not the case now. Filling in spots with the likes of an Andujar, Hicks, and eventually, Gleyber Torres is a major difference compared to what the Yanks have going out there now.

Now in the second half, injuries to major pieces have hit the Bombers in a big way. Aaron Judge has played in just six games in the second half, that being thanks to being plunked by a pitch on the wrist. Gary Sanchez is still fighting the same groin injury that cost him time towards the end of the first half.

With those two major impact type players out of the lineup, there is naturally going to be a lack of production. Austin Romine has filled in nicely behind the plate, but he still isn’t Gary Sanchez, who has the potential to put a team on his back when he is hot. As for Judge, that is where the Yankees have had a hard time trying to fill in.

Shane Robinson has seen a bulk of the time in right, but Robinson is a Triple-A player at best. Neil Walker, an infielder by trade, is also seeing time out in the outfield and that has not been working well either. Robinson is slashing .129 in 16 games for the Bombers, while Walker has been putting up similar numbers hitting .174 in his last seven games.

Clint Frazier is still on the disabled list, and the club traded Billy McKinney and Tyler Austin at the trade deadline to improve the starting rotation. Although the right moves, one has to wonder if either Austin or McKinney could have helped the Bombers in the Judge’s absence.

General manager Brian Cashman chose not to add an outfielder at the trade deadline, that being because the expectation was for Judge to be out only three weeks. That plan has changed, and with the Yankees depth proving not to be there, the time is now to make a move.

Former Yankee Curtis Granderson has reportedly cleared waivers according to Robert Murray of The Athletic and is free to be traded. Jon Heyman of Fancred Sports reports the Baltimore Orioles’ outfielder Adam Jones has also cleared waivers, and that the Orioles have actually reached out to the Yankees regarding him.

While Jones does not appear to be an option for the Yankees right now thanks to the luxury tax, Granderson is someone that the Yankees shouldn’t even have to think twice about bringing into the fold. Cashman and the Yankees already know what type of player, and more importantly, what type of teammate Granderson can be. He fits right into what the Yankees are about and can definitely take advantage of being back at Yankee Stadium where he’s seen plenty of success in the past, hitting 63 home runs in the Bronx during his four seasons as a Yankee.

The good news is that the Yankees expect to get back Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez. The bad news is that it does not look like that will be anytime soon. The team simply cannot go out there with the likes of Shane Robinson and Neil Walker in right field.

The time to make a move is now before their depth forces them to the second Wild Card position, or even worse, outside the playoff picture altogether.

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Dominick is a graduate of Canisius College. He has covered the Rangers for the last seven seasons and the Yankees for the last four.