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Yankees trade Mike Tauchman to Giants for reliever Wandy Peralta

Here’s a deal that came out of left field. The Yankees made a trade prior to tonight’s game, sending Mike Tauchman to the Giants in exchange for lefty reliever Wandy Peralta and a player to be named later. There hadn’t been a rumor about Tauchman recently, at least not since spring training.

Tauchman hasn’t been very good for the Yankees since he broke out in 2019 as part of the Next Man Up parade. That year, the outfielder batted .277/.361/.504 (128 wRC+) with 13 homers in 296 plate appearances. He was particularly hot in the second half after a brutal start with the team, and it seemed like he was yet another unearthed gem by the Yankees’ front office. But ever since, Tauchman owns an ugly .239/.333/.303 (76 wRC+) line with no homers in 127 plate appearances. With that performance, along with Clint Frazier and Brett Gardner ahead of him on the depth chart, Tauchman had become redundant.

In return, Peralta brings tantalizing stuff but uneven results thus far. Jaime will have more on the team’s newest acquisition soon. In short: the lefty owns a 4.72 ERA and 4.84 FIP in 192.2 big league innings (all in relief) despite some glowing Statcast metrics. Also, Peralta has a minor league option (unlike Tauchman), so he will likely be on the Scranton shuttle.

Lastly: the Yankees promoted Tyler Wade to fill Tauchman’s vacated roster spot.

Mailbag: Pinch Running, Gleyber’s Defense, Closers, Lineup Construction

Happy Friday, everyone. Today’s the day we learn if Aaron Judge is actually hurt or not. In a few hours, we’ll find out if he’s in the lineup for today’s 3pm game against the Rays. I’m sure the reactions will be measured either way.

But before that, it’s time for a mailbag. Four good questions today. As always, please send yours to viewsfrom314@gmail.com. We answer our favorites every Friday. Let’s get to it.

Yankees Spring Training News & Notes: March 25th, 2021

Mike Tauchman went deep against Detroit on Tuesday. (Bryan Hoch)

Good morning. We’re just a week out from opening day, and I don’t know about you, but I’m dealing with some major spring training fatigue at this point. The games are a bit of a slog now and my lone concern is player health. Wake me up in a week, please.

In case you missed it, Bobby penned his thoughts yesterday. His last section, about the players he’s most excited to watch this year, definitely helped me snap out of my March malaise a bit. Just need to have some patience over this last week. Anyway, let’s move forward and break down the latest and greatest in the Yankees’ world:

Thoughts a Week and a Day Before Opening Day

Happy Wednesday, friends. We are rapidly approaching Opening Day, but there are still Spring Training games before then. Here is the broadcast schedule through the rest of the Grapefruit League to hold us over for the rest of the week.

Here’s hoping that the Yanks can stay healthy in that time, too. Anyway, on to today’s thoughts.

1. Opening Day Next Week: Opening Day is one week from tomorrow, which is wild. It really snuck up on me this year. Still, I am excited for the season – and you should be, too. The games are really going to matter right away. The Yankees are the hands-on favorite to win the American League East, and they’ll have a chance to emphatically make that case nearly right away: 19 of the team’s first 25 games (76%) are inter-divisional matchups.

Now, those aren’t exactly spread out evenly, either. Here is how it breaks down:

  • Baltimore Orioles: 7 games (3 at home)
  • Tampa Bay Rays:6 games (3 at home)
  • Toronto Blue Jays: 6 games (3 at home)

Notably missing is the Red Sox, so the Yanks are getting a big chunk of their non-Boston divisional rival games out of the way early. That is significant. Tampa got worse since we last saw them, but I won’t count them out. (Baseball Prospectus tags them for 86 wins; FanGraphs says 84.) Toronto, on the other hand, got better, but is dealing with a Yankee-like deluge of injuries right now. (BP has them at 84 wins; FanGraphs 88.) Both will be looking to challenge the Goliath Yankees and will have a chance to make their mark early on.

While it is a long season – and it feels nice to be able to say that again after last year’s weirdness – this still feels important. As Matt noted, there are four off-days, not counting an inevitable rainout. The good news for the Yankees is that this means they can turn to team ace Gerrit Cole more often than not.

The bottom line is that these early games are going to matter. The Yankees, barring a major surprise, will be the best team in the American League East, if not the entire league. It would be awfully nice for the team to get out to a hot start and put some distance between themselves and their closest competition right way. The schedule means they’ll have a great opportunity to do so. Let’s hope they don’t miss it.

Contemplating a five player bench for the Yankees

Embed from Getty Images

The Yankees need to make decisions on non-roster invitees like Jay Bruce and Derek Dietrich this week. Those two will be able to opt out of their contracts this week. But in order for the Yankees to keep one of those two, Mike Tauchman must go according to conventional wisdom. But what if the Yankees carried five bench players, rather than the norm of four in this era?

Most teams run with a 13/13 position player/pitcher split nowadays. That means eight relievers and four bench roles. Having all those relievers is key in April, and perhaps even more so this season. Managers tend to be hesitant with their starters in the early going in order to protect arms. And coming off a shortened season, even more care than usual could be taken. That said, I think there’s a way to make carrying just 12 pitchers work to start the season.

As Matt noted yesterday, the Yankees have ample opportunities to limit its fifth starter usage in the first month. By my count, the Yankees need a fifth starter only three times through April 24th. That provides an opportunity to re-shuffle the roster every time the team requires a fifth starter. The likes of Domingo Germán, Deivi García, and Michael King could be optioned up-and-down before and after games they’re needed. No need to worry about the 10-day option rule, either. A different pitcher could be recalled for the next time a fifth starter is needed. And while they’re down at the Alternate Site, the Yanks could carry an eighth reliever as starters one-through-four take their turns. All this means is that the Yankees conceivably could carry eight relievers for much of April even with a five-man bench.

So now that we know it could work logistically for the pitching staff, does it actually make sense to execute?

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