The Yanks have made a lot of changes to the roster complexion recently, huh?
They made a couple of trades, guys are getting healthy, and, of course, there are oodles of guys called up to the big league roster as minor league seasons are ending and the rosters have expanded to 40 in the MLB level. Pretty silly that they’re allowed to just do that, but they are! Let’s talk about who these new guys are.
You know Andrew McCutchen. You like Andrew McCutchen. My full thoughts on the trade for Cutch can be found here, but the skinny on him is he’s a former superstar and MVP in the later stages of his career. The 31-year-old is still a very serviceable starter, and now we get to use him instead of Sugar Shane Robinson.
Judge is still hurt, so he’s sort of sliding into that right field spot while Giancarlo Stanton is DHing on a more permanent basis.
Brett Gardner is also struggling right now, so if he doesn’t turn it around and Judge does return (which is starting to feel more like an “if” rather than a “when” these days) then we could very well see him play some left field. I hope that doesn’t need to happen because that would mean everyone is playing well and is healthy, and I like when that happens with the Yankees.
Hechevarria is a defensive wizard who sometimes shows signs of offensive competence. He’s only 29, which is shocking, to me, because I feel like he’s been around forever. His best season was probably 2015 with Miami when he finished with a .689 OPS and a 92 OPS+.
Hech is essentially a no-power, sometimes contact guy, by all accounts. The Yanks are his third team this year, playing for the Rays, then Pittsburgh for 15 games before coming over to the Yankees just before the midnight deadline.
He killed the Yanks while with Tampa this year, slashing .438/.438/.625 in 5 games this year, so it’s nice that he won’t be able to hurt me like that for the rest of this year. He’ll maybe start a couple of games before Didi comes back and then he’ll probably be a ninth-inning defensive replacement for Andujar or something if they have a lead. That’s fine.
Johnny Lasagna is back. He looked anywhere from good to acceptable in his fairly brief stint earlier this year. Maybe he’ll get a couple starts, or maybe he can be a multi-inning reliever guy in games that aren’t necessarily a high-leverage spot. It’s nice to see him again.
Tarpley has been the best reliever for most of the season with the Triple-A squad (shoutout to DJ Eberle on one of the more recent episodes of “Talkin’ Yanks”). His big thing is his ability to get ground balls and generate soft contact. He had a pretty rough go of it in his MLB debut Sunday, but he was one strike away from getting out of it at one point.
He’s an important guy to keep your eye on because he is almost definitely going to be a mainstay of the bullpen in 2019. Zach Britton and David Robertson are both free agents this winter and I don’t think they’re going to bring back both, especially with how middling Britton has been since coming over from Baltimore. Tarpley, theoretically, can slide right in as the Britton replacement if they are, indeed, letting him (or D-Rob) walk.
You remember Tyler Wade because he was on the Opening Day roster. The Yankees have wanted him to turn into their “Ben Zobrist” for years, and it hasn’t happened. He’s an elite defender in the infield, has fantastic speed on the base paths, plays a competent/pretty good outfield, but the hitting just has not translated at the MLB level. He’ll probably be mostly used as a pinch runner and late-game defensive replacement, which very well could (and probably will) land him on the postseason roster. He’s important, and he’s back.
Cessa is bad. We all know Cessa is bad, but he was called up. Maybe he can be good in a relief role but if he gets another spot start I will go bonkers.
I am sure that Justus Sheffield and Chance Adams, among others, will be up soon. Sheffield still needs to be added to the 40-man roster, and there’s not currently a spot available to him, so the Yankees will likely have to DFA someone to get him on the team, but he will be here very soon. Those two will probably get their own post(s) because of their status as highly-regarded prospects when they are called up.