The New York Yankees offense can go a few directions over the coming days and fans are hoping it means better performance regardless. Alex Rodriguez has oblique issues and Aaron Hicks has bursitis and both statuses remain in flux with neither player on the disabled list.
There are a few moving parts and a few options moving forward. Of course, the most obvious outcome is neither player is hurt long-term, the Yankees motor on without two players who aren’t hitting particularly well and then things remain status quo in a week or so.
Another scenario would have Hicks hitting the DL since he cannot even resume baseball activity, Rodriguez staying as the DH, the Yankees calling up an outfielder and using Dustin Ackley in his super utility role.
Even still both players could be hurt for a long enough period for some MLB auditions when you consider Hicks is hitting: .091/.167/.258 in his first 28 at bats and A-Rod is at: .145/.242/.515 in his first 62 at bats.
So what should the Yankees do with two players who are both underachieving, banged up and with plenty of depth to bring up a DH and an outfielder if need be from the farm? Here are the pros and cons of all of the outcomes:
1. Don’t Replace Anybody
After all, Ackley could play outfield when someone needs a rest and anybody can DH for the time being. Ackley can even move into right field until an infielder needs a rest and Beltran can take over DH duties until one of the players comes back. Both players need at bats to surely hit better than they are to start the year.
On the other hand, Rodriguez is 40-years-old and the smallest of injuries can linger. He could also be done as a hitter altogether without a full year of reprieve to rest like he had going into last season. Hicks may not be able to handle New York at the plate, could be a bust and could be nothing more than a glove first fourth or fifth outfielder.
2. Call up Lane Adams
Maybe the most realistic and obvious choice nobody is talking about or looking forward to, Adams could replace Hicks in the outfield should he need more time and keep the arbitration clocks from running on the big prospects. He provides the outfield presence Nick Swisher can’t and will probably make fans miss Hicks and give him a bit of a confidence boost. Adams is hitting just: .236/.323 with 23 strike outs in his first 62 at bats but can play all three outfield positions and act as an excellent pinch-runner.
3. Call up Gary Sanchez
This scenario works best if A-Rod is ultimately the one who loses playing time. The Yankees, probably not so secretly, would prefer Rodriguez start losing playing time since he looks like he’s 100-years-old when he swings and is killing the team on offense when his only assignment is to hit. Sanchez would surely lose a year of arbitration if he were called up in April, but if Rodriguez continues his hitting woes, it could make sense to call up the catcher to catch a couple of days a week and DH the rest of the time for constant at bats. Sanchez is currently hitting .250/.311/.829 in AAA after a very slow start and horrible spring. Still, he could only be called up with Rodriguez hitting the DL to clear a roster spot and that would mean keeping Beltran in right field, something the Yankees probably want to avoid.
4. Call up Aaron Judge
Maybe the most popular, but ill-advised opinion. Judge could move to right field if Beltran becomes the DH, which would be dependent on both Hicks and A-Rod staying hurt and one of them entering the DL. Not only would calling Judge up rush his progress (he’s hitting: .284/.306/.738 with 21K in 67 at bats) but it would also start his arbitration clock and he may miss a full season of arbitration in exchange for a random late April debut because Yankees’ fans can’t handle themselves.
5. Call up Nick Swisher
Maybe the second most popular opinion. Swisher likely cannot play the outfield because of the condition of his knees, but he is swinging the hottest AAA bat, obviously has a history with the Yankees and could provide an immediate boost without the drawback of rookie adjustments. Currently, Swisher is hitting: .368/.405/.1.036 so the bat is ready. He would be an ideal call up if A-Rod missed time in charge of likely upgrading in offense, but his inability to play the field effectively would still keep Beltran in the outfield and he is not a match if it is Hicks who has to miss more time.