The Yankees traded Starlin Castro and Chase Headley this past offseason, which immediately pointed to the chance that two rookies - Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres - would man second and third base, the former Pinstriper's respective positions. But neither rookie made the squad out of spring training.
Instead, the Yankees went with a young, but experienced third baseman in Brandon Drury, and an inexperienced 23-year-old in Tyler Wade at second base.
Andujar is already up with the club taking most of the reps at third base due to Drury's migraine issues that forced a stint on the disabled list. Meanwhile, whispers for Torres' call-up are transitioning into beckoning screams as Wade flails at the plate.
To further complicate the issue, Andujar's offensive performance has been dismal since coming up for Drury, and the Yankees have recently resorted to Ronald Torreyes - Yankees fans' favorite mascot - at either second or third base believing the production cannot get worse. Torreyes is sadly the better option right now, but the reality is that he'll eventually be exposed as best suited in a utility role.
Both Andujar and Wade opened up eyes during spring training, but have looked completely overmatched at the MLB level. For Wade, who has three hits in 32 at-bats, the excuse for lack of playing time that was granted him for his stay with the Yankees in 2017 is unavailable this season, as he's played in 11 of 14 games.
With Andujar hitting a paltry .156 with a .426 OPS, we have to wonder if he is trying too hard to prove the Yanks made a bad decision by trading for and inserting Drury into the starting role at the hot corner.
There has been little in the way of updates for Drury's return, which means that we could be seeing a good deal more of Andujar or Torreyes at third base depending on the whim and volumes of analytical notebooks that manager Aaron Boone subscribes. In the meantime, it is hard to imagine the Yankees waiting too long to call on Torres to take over at the keystone.
In 10 games (42 plate appearances) for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Torres is hitting .385 with a .969 OPS. He was close to being called up last summer to play third base before he was injured during a play at the plate, which resulted in an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery.
During spring training, it was readily apparent that Torres had as much rust on his game as a neglected vehicle in Seattle might, so the Yankees did the right thing by starting him in Triple-A. That's besides the fact that the Yankees would gain a year of team control by keeping Torres down in the minors for the first few weeks of the season. That time will soon pass.
The Yankees may very well ride Torreyes at second base for a bit longer, but we have to question whether that would be a wise decision. It would mean that Wade sits on the bench, and we all know what the result of that will become. In my opinion, it makes more sense to call up Torres, shift Wade, who is still a promising player, back to Scranton for consistent playing time.
In turn, calling up Torres would enable the Yankees to slide Torreyes to the bench or third base until Drury returns, assuming that Andujar continues to struggle.
The Yankees need to find out right now if Torres can contribute meaningful production at second base, which may then provide the team an answer to their long term plans at the position. At this stage, with the Yankees already five games back of Boston in the loss column and a big 10-game homestand set to begin, a potential spark from the club's top prospect would be more fruitful than him carrying the RailRiders to victories.