The Yankees have announced that outfielder Mike Tauchman has been optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre as the corresponding move for their impending activation of Aaron Hicks from the 10-day IL.
Hicks will be making his season debut for the Yankees. He signed a 7-year extension early in spring training and injured his back shortly thereafter. All things considered, I expected him to take longer to get back once he started baseball activities since he missed so much time and had next-to-no spring training. A pleasant surprise.
As for Tauchman, he has been mostly bad for the Yankees and he’s been forced to play a lot more than anyone would have thought entering the season. He’s flashed some potential, for sure. He had the one big week a few weeks back and had a nice series against the Rays this past weekend while playing solid defense at all three outfield positions. Other than that, he’s really given them nothing else. On the season, he is slashing .213/.314/.427 (99 wRC+) in 102(!!) plate appearances across 32 games.
The return of Hicks means a few things. One- the Yankees get a big-time starter back into the fold. Hicks has come together as a really nice player for the Yankees. He was the second best centerfielder in the AL last year, overall. He’s a switch hitter with power who plays a great defensive center field. That’s a big-time contributor to get back.
Two- Brett Gardner will no longer be the everyday center fielder. He will still be the guy who plays center field when Hicks is out, but he won’t be there every day. He will go back to playing mostly left field, where his defense becomes even higher caliber than it is as a center fielder. This means less time on his feet and less ground to cover, so when he does play his bat will, theoretically, be more productive. Moreover, he will play less, in general, which is what we wanted heading into this season, and he won’t have to face any lefties anymore. They had been kind of forced to have him (or Tauchman) face left-handed pitching a lot this year, and with Hicks back, they can go with Cameron Maybin, Hicks, and Clint Frazier as all righties against a left-handed thrower.
Three- it makes me happy that he is back, and I needed a third thing on this list since I said it means a few things when I really only had a couple of things. Thanks for understanding.