Mandatory Credit: Dave Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

If the name Jake Bauers sounds familiar, it should. He’s a 27-year-old first baseman/outfielder with 328 games for the Guardians, Mariners and Rays from 2018-21. Bauers hit .213 with 27 home runs over that stretch and then had an uneventful 2022 in the Reds and Yankees’ farm systems.

But in 2023, the script has been flipped and the struggling Yankees should be taking note. Bauers is swinging a white-hot bat in Triple-A right now.

In 19 games, Bauers is batting .333 with a 1.364 OPS and an International League-leading nine home runs. He’s played both corner outfield positions as well as first base. Bauers also has 17 walks to just 13 strikeouts, making his on-base percentage (OBP) a healthy .481.

Meanwhile, up in the Bronx, the Yankees continue to give Franchy Cordero, Aaron Hicks, and Isiah Kiner-Falefa at-bats. And while Giancarlo Stanton and Josh Donaldson are injured!

Let’s be real, folks. The Cordero honeymoon is over after some timely home runs early. He’s 1-for-25 since his last long ball and simply subbing in Hicks isn’t the answer. Kiner-Falefa’s bat might be even less reliable, and that’s saying a lot.

Meanwhile, Stanton is probably out until June and Donaldson has no timetable. Harrison Bader should be back for the Rays series next week, except this is a problem now. Manager Aaron Boone can’t depend on Cordero, Hicks, Kiner-Falefa or even Willie Calhoun to be a standout bat in that limited timeframe. If anything, Cordero will get his walking papers once Bader returns.

Why not shift the timeline, cut Cordero now and give Bauers a chance? It’s not like the Yankees are prospect-hugging him for a potential trade down the line, because he’s not a prospect. He’s a veteran looking for an opportunity and the Yankees have one. Boone even mentioned before Wednesday’s game at Minnesota that he and the team were “paying attention” to Bauers. It’s really not that complicated. Designate Cordero for assignment and promote Bauers. Plain and simple.

And if Bauers is performing well in the majors when Bader comes back? Even simpler: Release Hicks. No more excuses. The Diamondbacks just cut Madison Bumgarner with two years and $34 million left on his deal. There’s precedent now and both Brian Cashman and owner Hal Steinbrenner need to just accept the sunken cost and cut ties.

The Yankees need power in the middle of the lineup. Bauers could be the solution. Forget that he’s succeeding in the minor leagues. He’s only a .269 hitter with 72 home runs in nine minor league seasons. What is this hot start if not a clear case of him adjusting himself up at bat?

At best, his big hitting follows him to the Bronx and the Yankees fill their hole in left field. At worst, maybe he’s a fourth outfielder who provides quality at-bats and otherwise makes regular hard contact. He can always go back to Scranton if the results don’t translate.

The Yankees thus have nothing to lose in calling up Bauers to the big league team. It’s time for Cashman to break usual Yankees precedent, cut the dead weight, and give him a chance.

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Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.