The 25-man roster for the New York Yankees is set. This team is going to be good, they may even improve upon their 100-win season in 2018. Players up and down the lineup can improve, making this team once again a formidable powerhouse. There were players, specifically one, that looked ready to make noise on the major league level. That player was Tyler Wade. Wade, however, was nixed from the opening day roster to make room for recently added outfielder Mike Tauchman.
To nobody’s surprise, Wade was hurt by it. He felt he proved himself in the Spring and was ready to take his momentum to the Bronx. Wade was ‘blindsided’ by the news that he would not be on the 25-man. Wade said that he was, “not expecting this,” and that he “was excited to get to New York.” He added more, saying, ” just the way I performed this spring, I did everything they asked me to do, I played well.”
He wasn’t done, adding “I just wanted to break with the team and I thought my performance offensively and defensively showed that,” he said. “No one’s ever had a problem with my defense. It’s always been my bat and I got my bat figured out. I’d made all those adjustments. That’s all I got.”
He then added “I made the adjustments offensively, and now it’s my defense that’s not good enough. I wouldn’t use the word ‘unfair,’ I’m just disappointed. I did everything I possibly can do to show I belong in the big leagues to help this team. I just know I’m able to play outfield. I’ve done this for three years now, so if that’s the issue I don’t know what the problem is.”
Wade’s disappointment is, of course, understandable. He was solid at the plate throughout Spring Training. In 55 plate appearances, he slashed .308/.345/.845 with a home run and seven doubles. Seeing as the biggest concern regarding Wade has been his bat, he seems to have remedied that a little bit.
Still, though, it is hard to overlook Wade’s past in the big leagues. His career slash line is .161/.218/.250 with just one home run and a negative WAR. He only has 124 at-bats, but even still his numbers have been far from encouraging. Another knock on Wade is that, at least statistically, he is a great minor leaguer that has not been able to figure it out on the big-league level. In triple-a in 2017 Wade slashed .310/.382/.460. He was maybe the best player on the Yankees’ Triple-A team that season. Still, though, when he got a chance on the big league level he did not make an immediate positive impact. There have to be repercussions for that, and maybe he is experiencing that right now.
Another aspect of this whole development is that the Yankees have an apparent interest in Mike Tauchman. Not just any interest, they think they really found somebody that can contribute. In regards to Tauchman, a scout told the New York Post that, “he can play center field. I put him in at a 55 defender [on a scale from 20 to 80]. He has good makeup and he always hit in the minor leagues. I don’t think the big-league numbers represent what he is.” It’s possible that the Yankees have stumbled upon yet another Luke Voit situation with Tauchman. They definitely seem to think so. Like Wade, he has hit like an all-star in the minor leagues (.304 BA in 606 minor league games) but has not put it together in the majors. In 52 MLB games, he has batted .153 and only batted .196 in Spring Training.
At the end of the day, the Yankees probably trust Tauchman’s ability as a more natural outfielder more than Tyler Wade’s manufactured outfield ability. With Aaron Hicks battling some injuries, they went with someone who they think can play all three outfield positions and can make some noise at the plate given the right opportunity. It is a tough pill for Wade to swallow, but it’s the decision that the business-minded Yankees came to.
Despite Wade’s disappointment and his absence from the 25-man roster, there is almost no scenario where wade spends an entire season in the minor leagues. Aaron Boone echoed this sentiment, saying “These things remain fluid and can be temporary, but the bottom line is he’s put himself in a good position to be here and I feel like he will impact our club this season.”
Just because Wade is not on the team to start the season does not mean he won’t be on it by the time it’s over. He played exceptionally well this Spring, showing both offensive and defensive versatility. He is always playing with passion and trying to get the most out of his teammates. Tyler Wade has earned a spot on this Yankee team, it just may not materialize until later in the season.