Scott Thompson, SNY.tv | Twitter |
That's exactly how Yankee fans feel when hearing GM Brian Cashman say that two of the team's best players in Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton are both "unlikely" for Opening Day. Judge's situation began as a "minor right shoulder problem," and now Cashman is saying it's two separate injuries in his shoulder and pec.
Cashman added that Judge is "responding well" to his multitude of tests, but there still isn't a timeline for his return, making his status for Opening Day the way it is.
Stanton, on the other hand, knows exactly what's wrong with him in his Grade 1 calf strain. He suffered that while doing outfield drills, and voiced his frustrations on the whole situation.
Who can blame him? The former MVP played 23 total games last season (18 regular season, five postseason), and was looking forward to starting off this new season on the right foot. Instead, he's sidelined yet again.
And if that isn't enough, Luis Severino just underwent Tommy John surgery and is lost for the season.
So mix in James Paxton and the Yankees are down two very important bats in their lineup as well as their No. 2 and 3 starters when Opening Day rolls. And that shakes up our latest roster prediction a pretty good amount.
Let's get into it:
1) DJ LeMahieu 2B
2) Brett Gardner, CF
3) Gleyber Torres, SS
4) Gary Sanchez, C
5) Luke Voit, 1B
6) Miguel Andujar, DH
7) Mike Tauchman, LF
8) Gio Ushela, 3B
9) Clint Frazier, RF
This is my projected lineup, batting order and all, for Opening Day. And as you can tell, Tauchman and Frazier make up for the loss of Judge and Stanton.
Frazier has been having a good spring thus far, going 3-for-10 with a homer, two RBI and three walks entering Tuesday's game. Word from camp is that his defense -- a main reason why he was sent down last season -- is also improving. Though Tauchman is hitless this spring, he should figure to be the starting left fielder. But there might be a catch there.
The Yankees are liking what they see from Andujar in the outfield, and considering he's hitting well already in Tampa, he could get the start in left. Let's leave him at DH for now until he gets more reps.
RHP Gerrit Cole
RHP Masahiro Tanaka
LHP J.A. Happ
LHP Jordan Montgomery
RHP Luis Cessa, Jonathan Loaisiga, Deivi Garcia, Michael King, Chad Green
If weight wasn't already on Cole's shoulders with Paxton missing time, there's now a sumo wrestler resting there.
Cole and Severino were supposed to be one of the league's most deadly 1-2 rotation combos, but now the Yankees won't know just how deadly they could be until the 2021 season. It's now even more imperative that the $324 million man pitches as that bonafide ace GM Brian Cashman brought him in to be at the top of the rotation.
As for the fifth starter situation, you can probably make a guess as to why I put all those names there. The Yankees just don't know at the moment what to do following the Sevy news. Cessa and Loaisiga have filled in before, while Garcia and King could impress enough in spring training to make their big league debuts. And then there's the option of an opener every fifth start, a role Green did well in last season.
Tyler Wade, UTIL
Rosell Herrera, OF
Thairo Estrada, INF
Mike Ford, 1B/DH
Kyle Higashioka, C
With Frazier and Tauchman in the starting lineup, two new players take their place on the bench.
Wade hasn't had the best spring thus far, with his lone hit being a home run on Sunday. However, his knack for playing anywhere on the field as well as serving in a pinch runner situation goes a long way.
And then there's Herrera, who has been turning heads in Tampa. Entering Tuesday, he was 7-for-14 with a triple, double and four RBI as he has the hottest bat in the Yankees clubhouse. If he continues to rake, the 27-year-old who made his big league debut with the Marlins last season, could be an option off the bench.
LHP Aroldis Chapman
LHP Zack Britton
RHP Adam Ottavino
RHP Chad Green
RHP Tommy Kahnle
RHP Jonathan Holder
RHP Luis Cessa
For now, I'll leave Cessa in as the long reliever, but that could obviously change with the fifth starter situation the way it is. Everything is the same, though, in the bullpen and the Yankees will cross their fingers that it stays that way up until camp breaks.